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Children of God Go Bowling

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  555 ratings  ·  68 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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Reese
"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
Bea
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.
Melina
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!
Traci
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
...more
Cate
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
...more
Joanne
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
...more
Paige
Aug 28, 2008 Paige rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
...more
Rachel
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
Sherry
Shannon Olson has a canny way of making me see things in myself.
Janis
Fast read, funny, poignant and a wonderful narrator's voice.
Ken Heard
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
Marianne
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.
Ally Bishop
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.
Audrey
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.
Sarah
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.
Nancy
Aug 04, 2007 Nancy rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.

Laurie
Apr 17, 2007 Laurie rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Deb
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.
Holly Martin
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.
Schmoyle


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.
Megan
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.)
Julie M
Mar 08, 2008 Julie M rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
suzy
Apr 27, 2007 suzy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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: http://www.westbendgrotto.com/
Karen Hannah
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.

Sherry
This was like talking to myself! Finally, an author who really speaks to me!
Missy
Jul 02, 2007 Missy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young independent women, especially those in Minneapolis
Shelves: pastreads
I did not like this as much as her first book. Maybe I missed something, but I did not find it hilarious and great. I really wanted to like it though and I do like Olson's writing in other places.
Jen
Admittedly, I enjoyed this book because my life situation parallels Shannon's in many ways. I read her previous book years ago and loved it. This one did not disappoint. A very fun read!
Vixb
This is the second book of Shannon Olsons that I have read. I like the way she writes. It's very honest and she talks about things that most of wonder about but probably never say outloud.
Toni
This book is a wonderful surprise and it really hits home for women in their 30s. You may not think that life has turned out for you....but it has. This is a delightful book.
Peace,
B.
Heather
Another funny one by Shannon Olson. You have to want to hear all about her and her obsessions, otherwise it is annoying. But I laughed out loud, so it rates high marks from me.
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