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Fall on Your Knees

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  45,213 ratings  ·  2,298 reviews
They are the Pipers of Cape Breton Island — a family steeped in lies and unspoken truths that reach out from the past, forever mindful of the tragic secret that could shatter the family to its foundations. Chronicling five generations of this eccentric clan, Fall On Your Knees follows four remarkable sisters whose lives are filled with driving ambition, inescapable family ...more
Paperback, 508 pages
Published October 29th 2002 by Pocket Books (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Greg
Stupid people read books because Oprah says so. Other stupid people won't read a book just because Oprah picked it to be part of her club. The second group of stupid people think they are very smart though, and they are usually pretentious windbags who say very stupid shit but with big words that people are supposed to be impressed with. The people in the second group will never read this awesome book, and I don't feel sorry for them because they don't deserve it.
(A note: Of the second group th
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K.D. Absolutely
Nov 21, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: Oprah Book Club, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010)
For 15 years (1996-2010), Oprah Winfrey picked books for her book club. Out of the 69 titles that she chose only 13 (19%) have appeared in at least any of the three (2006, 2008, 2010) editions of Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die:
4 by TONI MORRISON (Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon)

2 by CHARLES DICKENS (A Tale of the Two Cities and Great Expectations)

2 by GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ (One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera)

1 each by LEO TOLSTOY
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Liberty Abbott-Sylvester
Jul 13, 2009 Liberty Abbott-Sylvester rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Liberty by: Novel Ladies 5 Star Nomination
OMG, I hated this book. It was painful to read. I spent a good 3 hours trying to read this book and ended up skimming the rest of it so I could be done with it.
MacDonald covers just about every topic in her book: racial tension, isolation, domestic abuse, and forbidden love, which leads to incest, death, and even murder, but does it in a very complicated way that will turn many readers away.
I consider myself a strong reader-one who has fantastic reading comprehension but this book tests even t
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Louise
This book reminded me of a grown-up VC Andrews, except you can read it on the subway without feeling like a pervy 12 year-old. Very Gothic at times and the crazy family drama had me reading non-stop, despite all the main characters being unlikeable assholes in one way or another. One thing that bugged me was that some of the writing didn't seem historically accurate. Did people in the 1920s really say "barf?" Maybe they did, I don't know. Regardless, I couldn't put this down and I blew through i ...more
Debbie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine
An amazingly harsh view of the hardships of life.

This book is most definitely my favorite of all time. It is absolutely amazing. It's scandelous, it's real, it's intriguing, it's just plain -good-! MacDonald's writing style creates an interactive world that pulls you in to first person view of the characters' lives.

The story follows the Piper family, a unique little set up of father and four daughters. Mr. Piper's wife has passed, leaving him to fend for himself in a home bursting to the seams
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BrokenTune
Lily stays sitting. “Frances. What if Ambrose is the Devil?” “He’s not the Devil. I know who the Devil is and it isn’t Ambrose.” “Who’s the Devil?” Frances crouches down as if she were talking to Trixie. “That’s something I’ll never tell you, Lily, no matter how old you get to be, because the Devil is shy. It makes him angry when someone recognizes him, so once they do the Devil gets after them. And I don’t want the Devil to get after you.” “Is the Devil after you?”
“Yes.”


This is Ann-Marie MacDon
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Melissa Madrid
I discovered Ann-Marie MacDonald by accident, when I bought The Way the Crow Flies in a used bookstore during a biblioemergency. She hooked me instantly with her ability to get inside childhood, and her searingly real portraits of life in the 1960s, with the bonus of superb storytelling acumen and writing that is a pleasure to read. I read Fall on Your Knee second and had that wonderful enjoyment of a second shot of a writer who you liked so much the first time you didn't think you could have th ...more
Carissa  Rogers
I was in a super geeky frame of mind when I read this book in early spring of 2012. I had been reading books about metaphors (see I told you... geeky). And as fate would have it I picked up this book suggested probably via the stream of books suggested on Amazon after you look at a book title there—right after my nerdy metaphor phase.

I literally started writing down metaphors I came across in the prose of this book... AMAZING. Beautiful. I'm not talking about similes or simple comparisons peopl
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Tea Jovanović
Opet poetska kanadska autorka i opet veliko MUST READ... Ovakve knjige pamtite dugo nakon što ste ih pročitali i preporučujete je dalje... Nažalost, ne postoji srpski prevod...
jo
there are 17,636 ratings and 1,500 reviews of this book. if you want to see them all you have to scroll through eight hundred sixteen pages. i just noticed because i wanted to see if anyone else found this novel picaresque. no one did in the first three pages. if someone could search the other 813 and report to me, i'd be grateful.

so, i found this novel picaresque, or at least somewhat picaresque. it seems clearly picaresque to me when frances is in the narrative. i don't have a tremendous pass
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Shawna Williams
Actually, I give this sort of a three b/c the author's style was oddly skillful, as a story though, it left a bitter taste in my mouth. Parts of the books were intriguing, other parts disturbing -- but given the subject matter I see no way around that; and yet, I can't quite get past it either.

Frankly I'm just really conflicted. The writing style was definitely interesting. Choppy, metaphoric, sensational; the author was very effective in putting me inside the characters' heads. I admire her abi
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EJ
MacDonald( the Canadian actress and playwrite)has truely shown the depth and beauty of her talent in her debut novel, Fall on Your Knees. Her words flow with ease, allowing the story to unfold as though real and not on a page. The historical detail, layers of generations and depth of the characters draw you in as you live their lives with them.

Fall on Your Knees is a story of a family from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It is centered around four sisters and their relationships with each other and wi
...more
Becky
This book left me wanting to slash my wrists-- especially when I think about the time I spent reading it that I can never get back.

Many people loved this book. I am not one of them. The characters are shallow,self-involved and just plain crazy and while I realize that this is just like the people you meet in your everyday I life, it doesn't necessarily mean I want to read about them unless they are delivered in a well-written story that makes them shine a little. This is not that kind of story.
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Jennifer (aka EM)
This five-star rating is the one I gave Ann-Marie MacDonald's powerhouse first novel the first time around, but I confess I was remembering and rating it at a great distance. I'm going to think on my second rating a bit more, but I can tell you that this was a very different read this time. I don't know that I liked it as much - although I recognize the mastery of its writing and characterization, and the amazing imagination behind the story. And I love how Cape Breton it was. But it was also gr ...more
salt
I kept picking it up and putting it down in frustration. I know so many people loved it, but when I saw it come up on Oprah's book list I just wanted to die. So much was happening, but being written about in the most boring way possible. It didn't hold my interest, which is rare since as a Canadian I was brought up on the typical Canadian novel diet. It amazes me how so many Canadian writers can write books where lots of big important things happen, yet do it in a way that just makes them so b.o ...more
Mimi
Okay - this is the second "Oprah's Book Club" book that I've read and, like DROWNING RUTH(Christina Schwartz), I disliked the story due to the disturbingly depressing plot. In DROWNING RUTH, the whole idea of a mentally-ill and controlling aunt (Amanda) ruining the life of her little niece (Ruth) after the girl's mother (Mathilda) mysteriously fell through the ice and drowned one cold winter eve was merely depressing; in FALL ON YOUR KNEES, however,the pervading theme of incest was more than dis ...more
Nicky Dierx
I read this book because my partner and I have an agreement. We both love wildly different styles of books, so we each choose one of our favourites and make the other person read it. This was her choice (I made her read A game of thrones in case you're wondering).

I hated this book for it's subject matter and content. The damn thing ended just when it started getting interesting and glossed over anything that was actually worth finding out more about. (roughly the last third was fantastic, but sh
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Bonnie
A novel I remember reading, and having a difficult time to put down. And didn't, very often, despite the 500-plus pages...
Shane
A novel full of dark secrets, revealed gradually over the course of its immense length. I had this book on my shelf for over three years before attempting to read it, wondering how the author would sustain my interest over its 560-plus pages. And, once making the bold attempt to finally pick-up the book, I had difficulty putting it down at times.

The novel is visual, reminiscent of a screenplay. MacDonald uses a variety of techniques to hook the reader: the rapid mixing of tenses and point-of-vie
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Scooping it Up
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
I stayed up until 3:30am last night to finish the last 60+ pages of Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees. I'll admit that I am always a bit of a night owl but even I don't stay up that late often. However I just couldn't put this book down. As the book wraps up it just pulls you in like passing a bad car accident. You know it's going to be disturbing and hard to watch but you can't look away.

Fall On Your Knees (Oprah #45)The book follows the Piper family from the late 1890's through several
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Leanne
Where do I even start with this one? This is heavy, heavy stuff, full to the brim with family secrets. And some of these are some pretty hardcore secrets. When asked by a co-worker what I was reading lately, I barely knew what to say - "Well, this book about a family, and their gross father, and there's a lot of incest..." But while there is definitely a very strong undercurrent of incesty feelings and behavior running through the entire novel, there is much more to it.

It's hard to give a high l
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Jme
This contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Fall On Your Knees is massive. Ann-Marie MacDonald successfully weaves a multi-generational story of the Piper family on Cape Breton Island wrapped in secrets, love & loss, family values/ the value of family, sins, compassion and redemption. As it should, the story unfolds in waves. There are moments of playfulness and humor, and others where the tide of pain comes down so strong, slightly unexpected, and, for a second, the feeling of drowning,
...more
Kimberly
Jan 08, 2012 Kimberly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kimberly by: no one
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of those books that you either love it or hate it. I loved it. In fact its one of my favorite books of all time. Its dark and deep but beautiful. The book is actually based in the town I grew up in so it was interesting to read about the town I grew up in only during the setting of the book. It was wonderful to read about the church I grew up in, my grandmothers church and later, the church I married my husband in. The book being set in Cape Breton was what grabbed my attention ...more
Elizabeth
I'm giving this book five stars because I can't find it in me to give it any less. I wouldn't say that I enjoyed this book, a well written tale so wrought with lost dreams, pining for the love of a father, incest, depression, longing, the blurred line between love and hate... I will say that I'm grateful for having read it.
Betsy
This had a lot of wonderful thoughts, but I got bogged down and don't think I'll finish it. I liked the characters and the "mystery" but honestly, it was too long. I may scan the rest. I need to move on. If it takes me 2 weeks to finish something, something is wrong.
Rowena
I loved this book! It was beautiful, witty, poignant, sad and educational.James was a sick,sick man. Families can really have so many dark secrets.
Angie
Changed my life. I saw the world differently after this book
Kathy
I’m not sure how I felt about this book. It’s a mixed bag for me. Pluses: I LOVED the writing. The characters were complex. The sense of place (as experienced by the characters, rather than by the reader) was well-crafted; especially the scenes in the family home, New York, and in the Canadian dive bar where Frances worked. The minuses: one HECK of a depressing tale. It felt like a cold, cloudy, rainy day in literary form. There was not one likeable character; I was not sympathetic to even one. ...more
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Ann-Marie MacDonald is a Canadian playwright, novelist, actor and broadcast journalist who lives in Toronto, Ontario. The daughter of a member of Canada's military, she was born at an air force base near Baden-Baden, West Germany.

MacDonald won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for her first novel, Fall on Your Knees, which was also named to Oprah Winfrey's Book Club.

She received the Governor General'
...more
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“Memory plays tricks. Memory is another word for story, and nothing is more unreliable.” 48 likes
“She's no lady. Her songs are all unbelievably unhappy or lewd. It's called Blues. She sings about sore feet, sexual relations, baked goods, killing your lover, being broke, men called Daddy, women who dress like men, working, praying for rain. Jail and trains. Whiskey and morphine. She tells stories between verses and everyone in the place shouts out how true it all is.” 30 likes
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