November 24, 2011

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

What a depressing book. It was well written sure, but just utterly down hearted and sad. I'm not really sure what I think of it to tell the truth.

After his parents die, James Piper moves to be a piano tuner and earn the big bucks. While working for one family, he falls in love with their thirteen year old daughter Materia and elopes with her. When she becomes pregnant though he quickly loses his fascination with her and starts to see all her flaws. But then she births Kathleen who becomes the apple of his eye and a fantastic singer to boot. He dotes on this little girl and even her sisters who come along later can't begin to compare with her. But when she brings shame to the family nothing else will ever be the same and the family's lives spiral into something almost unrecognizable as functional.

None of these characters were very heartwarming. Sure Frances had a dark streak of humor but even that humor was a little sad. Mercedes was just plain strange and to me it seemed like the whole family suffered from a genetic mental illness. The father was abusive and made me cringe just thinking about him and what he was capable of doing. Poor Materia, the mother, was just a figure to be pitied and I actually did feel a lot for her and her plot in life. Kathleen I never liked and thought she was quite spoiled.

The whole plot is extremely sad and there really aren't any glimmers of joy in the entire novel. Things just kept getting more depraved and depressing and it made me sad just to read it. The language is beautiful and clear and MacDonald is a tremendous writer. It makes me wonder what she could do if she decided to write something a little happier. I'd probably love it. But the downward spiral of this book just made it hard for me to completely enjoy the writing. It also liked to jump back and forth a little bit in time and also through a diary so it could be somewhat hard to figure out the who, what, when, where at times. A reader should be warned that there are some extremely heavy themes not limited to just abuse in this novel. It can be disturbing.

Lovely written but just too sad. I'd recommend it but not for an easygoing light read.

Fall on Your Knees
Copyright 1996
508 pages

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