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Children of God Go Bowling

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  611 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
With encore performances by Shannon's mother, Flo and other indelible characters from Welcome to My Planet, Children of God Go Bowling is the heroic, heartbreaking, hilarious story of a woman making her life happen when it didn't quite happen for her.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2004)
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Oct 02, 2010 Reese rated it liked it
"For the listener, who listens in the snow, . . . beholds / Nothing that is not there. . ." (Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man"). The preceding piece of my favorite poem by Wallace Stevens, if it weren't taken out of context, might have little or nothing to do with Shannon Olson's CHILDREN OF G-D GO BOWLING. But by itself, the excerpt climbed out of my memory bank on the heels of my finishing Olson's book (labeled a novel by the author, though it's been referred to as a "semi-autobiographical" work ...more
Dec 13, 2008 Bea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
Shannon Olson is my new favorite author.

The relationship between the main character, Shannon and her mother Flo is very well documented and anyone who gets frustrated by interactions with her own mother would probably be able to relate.

there is a book that goes before this, I'll try to read it real soon!

also this book takes place in Minnesota and really made me think about Jen Hill and Shiloh and their midwestern connections.
Jun 11, 2010 Melina rated it really liked it
OMG, I thought I was reading my autobiography for a little bit. Single, 30 something professional from German-heritage, midwestern family who has a best guy friend people keep bugging her to date. Hmm, too strange. But then the story takes a turn and I can safely say that this book is in fact not about me. Would recommend it though to all those single ladies out there!
Mar 04, 2009 Cate rated it liked it
This is the book my real life book club will be discussing on Monday. It was selected primarily because it was available as a "Book Club in a Bag." It was available because it really isn't very good.

The semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical protagonist is Shannon Olson, who lives in St. Paul, is in her early thirties, and feels stuck in her life. She thinks the answer is in finding a husband--that her real life will only begin then. The book starts with her going to visit her younger sister at t
Feb 20, 2010 Joanne rated it did not like it
The main character (Shannon) and her self -absorption/depression grow irritating relatively quickly, I found it interesting that the premise was her depression and inability to change is blamed on the too - close relationship of the daughter with her mother by her psychiatrist (who, interestingly, seem to grow weary of her as well after 6 years of therapy!)

I have a habit lately of pulling two books off the library shelf by the same author, on the off chance I will LOVE the author (sort of a flea
Aug 28, 2008 Paige rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like chick lit, that kind of thing
So, probably actually like 2.5 stars, but I'm rounding up 'cause I'm nice.

Um, I don't know, it was okay, not great. Chick lit, basically: thirtysomething girl wants a boyfriend and kids and whines about it for approximately 300 pages, wondering if perhaps her long time college friend is "the one." The main character complains about not being able to "afford" a place that has a washer/dryer, but she visits two different therapists every week. ?! She also didn't really seem to have any problem, be
Nov 23, 2014 Traci added it
Shelves: 2004
"A body comes out of seemingly nowhere, grows out of a single cell. Becomes bigger than the sum of its parts, a spirit, a friend, someone you depend on.
Then you watch it decay and shrink. A body with cancer harbors hidden, furious life, taking everything in its path, taking on a life of its own, before the person inside of that body can leave."

"People want the dying person to have amazing perspective. They want him to reveal secrets. When, in reality, we are all in the same kind of boat. The dyi
Feb 05, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
Probably every writer borrows heavily from his or her own life, but it takes a special kind of crazy to give your fictional heroine your name, family members, and life. Shannon Olson is a special kind of crazy. I prefer this to the first not-really-Shannon book, "Welcome to My Planet" (which I've been told was originally supposed to be called "The Bananas You Picked Out," a much better title), but I don't think I learned much from either. Maybe that I should remember everything funny my friends ...more
Ken Heard
Dec 05, 2007 Ken Heard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shannon Olson is a great writer. I read her earlier book "Welcome to My Planet" and enjoyed it. This is more of the same. Her character, who is named Shannon Olson, goes to therapy, has an overbearing mother and fails in relationships. Olson has some funny moments, but she also writes from the heart. The last several chapters are really full of pathos and caring, which lifts this book far above the tales written just for funny sake. I'd recommend this for anyone who wants to read something well ...more
Ally Bishop
Aug 16, 2011 Ally Bishop rated it really liked it
Shelves: chiclit
Shannon Olson wrote an interesting take on chiclit. Her protagonist, named after her, rides a carousel of emotions as she dodges panic disorder, singledom, and life. While the pacing is slow, it still chugs along, focused more on character development and story. She has some great lines, some laugh-out-loud moments, and the end is surprisingly poignant. Definitely a read I would recommend to any woman who is not sure what being single really means.
Aug 07, 2007 Marianne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
I wanted to like this book, but Shannon - the character, not the author - is so self-absorbed, I found it an irritating read. Hmmmm, since the author named her main character after herself, what conclusions can we draw from that?

Anyway, being in much the same situation as Shannon (again, the character), I wanted to love this book. But it really stretched my patience! Still, there were some amusing sections that I did enjoy. Without those, this would have only received one star from me.
Jul 21, 2008 Audrey rated it liked it
This book is a sequel to What Planet Am I From, which I did not read but did not seem to detract from this story. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book as the reason I read it is because my 5-year old picked it out for me randomly in the library. It is pretty much an American version of Bridget Jones Diary. The main character can get to be quite whiney but it is overall an entertaining read.
Mar 27, 2008 Deb rated it it was ok
The book centers on the emotional state of an early 30s single woman who feels pressure to make changes in her life, but she is stuck. Her personal insights and lack of insights were humorous, and her relationships with her mother, therapist and friends gave the story motion. References to Minneapolis culture and locations was amusing.
May 27, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shannon Olson writes about being a single woman in her thirties, living in the Twin Cities, finding herself among the last of her friends to buy a house, have babies and "settle down." You might say I found this book pretty goddamn relatable.

As in Welcome to My World, Olson's voice is simple, vulnerable and revealing. It's like peeking inside your friend's diary.
Aug 04, 2007 Nancy rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: smug singles
Being based in Minneapolis, I enjoyed all the cultural and location references. I think I was supposed to find this book really funny but there seemed to be a lot of pain and sadness in all the witty barbs/observations. This is why I don't watch comics perform live on stage anymore. It's all kind of depressing. Maybe I'm depressed.

Apr 17, 2007 Laurie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
This is the sequel to Shannon Olsen's "Welcome to My Planet" and it is HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud and I cried. It's just about going back home and trying to fit in, trying to find that one Mr. Right, friendship, etc. It's soooo great. And, despite what I thought when I picked up the book, it is NOT about the Children of God cult. Don't worry.
Holly Martin
Apr 19, 2010 Holly Martin rated it liked it
It was fun that this book was based in Minnesota but the author's woes of growing up as a Catholic in Chaska didn't really hit home for me. I enjoyed the book but it seemed like she spent a lot of time on the never ending details of her therapy and her journey to 'emancipation' for the all too quick to come to a close ending.
Oct 30, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
I bought this book for a couple of bucks on clearance at Half Price while on vacation, and I have to say that I ended up liking it a lot. This may be because there was tons of similarities with my own life (in terms of locations, names of characters, scenarios, etc.)
Karen Hannah
Aug 28, 2009 Karen Hannah rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Author is St. Olaf grad; that is of interest to me.

"chick lit" as they say. 20 somethings.

Shannon writes as herself, 33 yr. old herione looking to meet the right guy. Funny but semi-believable.

Rebecca A.
Apr 14, 2016 Rebecca A. rated it liked it
Interesting little novel. A different take and tone on the whole Growing Up Thing, in which the thirty-something protagonist, Shannon, learns how to begin to live her own life. Shannon is called a semifictional heroine, so that adds interest.
Julie M
Mar 04, 2008 Julie M rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sara
Recommended to Julie by: book group
Shannon Olson is an MFA from the UofM and took writing courses from Garrison Keillor. It's obvious in this tragicomdedy (more funny than serious) drawn from her life (memoir style) in the Twin Cities and at Northfield's St. Olaf College.
Aug 17, 2012 Schmoyle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rejects

This book was sadly awful. I found it quite narcissistic and condescending. All of this was disappointing as I was excited to see my city highlighted, but found some of my favorite places were instead ridiculed. I could not relate with many of the main character's first world problems.
Apr 27, 2007 suzy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: midwestern women in their 40's
Funny, with great observations! Of course I liked the Minnesota setting and twin city references. I discovered the Grotto of Redemption in Iowa becasue of this book! Tour it if you can:
May 29, 2007 Sherry rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2006-2010
This was like talking to myself! Finally, an author who really speaks to me!
Aug 17, 2009 Lara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Minnesota author, loved all the familiar references. 30 something life crisis seemed to appeal to me..not sure why
Jan 28, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it
Quirky, cute. Good book club read.
Apr 14, 2008 Carlyna rated it liked it
This was a quick read. I actually bought it because of the title, I mean...come on! Does it not scream CARLYNA?
Sunkissd1 Base
Oct 12, 2009 Sunkissd1 Base rated it really liked it
This is an awesome sequel to Welcome to my planet. While this one is also funny, there's some real issues and tragedy in this book. A must read.
Jun 03, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book. she is my people.
Nov 22, 2008 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Very good insight into the modern Twin Cities lives of people who are "from here".
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