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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The acclaimed author of Into the Forest mines our fears and explores our capacity to love in this epic tale of modern motherhood.
Young and pregnant, Cerise and Anna make very different decisions about how to direct their lives. While teenaged Cerise struggles to support herself and her young daughter, Anna finishes college, marries, and later gives birth to two daughters of he
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 21st 2005 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  283 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Paul by: I found in a recycle bin
Shelves: favorites
Very well written story. I was amazed at the tension that Hegland was able to create throughout the story. It really would have been a five star read except I felt the ending was a little truncated and hurried.
Apr 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Jean Hegland is an amazing writer. The stories she weaves are a heart-wrenching melange of beauty and horror. Your heart breaks and your senses reel, tears fall. . . and yet you read on relishing every phrase. This is her newest, her second book. I own two copies of her first (Into the Forest) so that I have one to keep and one to lend.

Windfalls is about motherhood — the choices mothers make, the results of those choices, and the feelings that evolve as women become mothers and grow
Feb 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles Markee
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This novel written by a local Sonoma County author, Jean Hegland, is an incredible read. It took me into the lives of two women, their children, their troubles and their personal journey. As I read, I came to know these two women, care about them and eagerly await my quiet time with them each evening. Last night, I finished the book and set it down with the sadness of losing a close friend.
A piece of work is art to me when it surpasses its medium and provides me with a quality of emotion o
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2008
The story sounded full of promise for a good read....the idea that two mothers facing their own challenges in life, their lives meet up and they change each others lives for the better....but, alas, I was disappointed with the book overall. I must admit the book was VERY descriptive, some things were a little too descriptive for what I wanted to know, but that's no big deal. The promise of their lives interwining at some point kept me reading...but that didn't happen until there was only about 5 ...more
Kristina Hoerner
Wow! What a powerful story. The author does a good job of capturing the fear, the intense longing and love of motherhood. The story was so horribly heart wrenching but the emotions were so well conveyed. The story is about two very different women who make different choices in their lives when they each find out they are alone and pregnant. Cerise is 16 and decides to keep her baby. This launches her into a difficult life but she has a fierce love for her daughter. Anna is a grad student in fine ...more
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
When I read Into the Forest, I was disappointed that there were no other Jean Hegland works of fiction. Into the Forest was unsettling, but a real page turner. When I discovered Windfalls, I put aside other books I was reading and dove in with the full understanding that this was going to be a disturbing yet engaging ride. Hegland did not disappoint. Windfalls stays with you long after you finish the book. The parallel stories of the two female protagonists capture your heart and make you gratef ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy this author and rated this 4 stars for writing.

The book is a bit challenging because there are no markers to indicate when you are switching from one character's story to the other... the intertwining is a bit confusing and it often took me a paragraph or two to realize I needed to make the mind shift from Cerise to Anna.

strength of character / class differences / prejudgment / fierce motherly love / the ways in which life thwarts your best-laid plans => these
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was strong in that Hegland did an excellent job describing the struggle so many women experience in trying to be the best mother and woman we can be. Where it failed to live up to its potential is in the character of Cerise, who was not a likable character at the outset and who never grew to be someone I cared much about nor found particularly interesting. The book jacket says that both women learned from each other but it's unclear what Anna learned from Cerise, nor how she benefited ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had high expectations due to my love of Hegland's first novel. The writing is still fantastic, but this story just didn't work for me. I didn't relate to either character and had no connection to such an intimate and sweeping examination of motherhood. So this may be my bias; someone else might absolutely love this book. In the end, I found it so depressing that I ceased to enjoy it; no amount of redemption for the protagonists could balance out the book's overall sadness.
Feb 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Though terribly engaging, I read this after Hegland's Into the Forest. I was so wow-ed by Forest that I wanted to gobble up anything by Hegland. I was not disappointed, but not as enthusiastic about this one. It is a tele of 2 women who both get pregnant as very young women, one decides to keep her baby, the other does not. It is a tale of how both of their lives were impacted by the decisions they made.
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Just couldn't get into it that much, but did want to find out what happened, so I skimmed it a lot. Annoyed by one of the characters, which didn't help.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jean Hegland's writerly voice is so lovely. Sometimes I'm awestruck with the beauty of her sentences.
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will write an actual review some other time. But I just realized this book is written by the same author who wrote "Into the Forest" and "Still Time." I never connected them. They are three very different books and I love all three of them. Jean Hegland is now one of my favorite authors and I wish she wrote more.
So now, I looked her up a little more and discovered that a movie has been made of "Into the Forest" with Ellen Page. Have to go find it!
Rebecca Dougherty
Jul 17, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Immediately after reading "Lone Survivor" (Navy SEALS in combat), I read this - just about as far apart as testosterone and estrogen can get - Hegland's second novel is just as compelling as her first.

Two women, whose lives are followed from their teen years, through relationships, pregnancy, motherhood, and diverging lives of relative affluence and struggle ending in homelessness. Yet the story brings the two women to meet each other in a believable manner. The reader is treated to
Kate Thompson
Jul 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written book that I just couldn't take right now. Way too close to the bone - extremely painful introspection on being a mother. Mothers with adult children and others who aren't parents will get some beautiful insight from reading this, and I look forward to reading it in another twenty years when every other evocative phrase doesn't make me want to weep.

I picked this up because Hegland's "Into the Forest" is one of my favorite novels and I've read it several times and
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful!! Moving, deep, loving, eye-opening, sensitive - it's for all women, the mothers, daughters, sisters, etc.. It sweetly shows the impact of a decision on the lives of two women and brings them both together to support and free each other. I was very moved by this and the real feelings/emotions involved in each character from the two mothers, Anna and Cherise, to Melody and even little Lucy. If you want to connect, see the world through a different lense and feel like you'r ...more
Champaign Public Library
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book to discuss. The group generally liked it but the subject matter dealt with difficult issues and emotions. Everyone mentioned that the story drew them in but some parts were a challenge to get through because they were so sad and heartfelt. The book covers two women. Each find themselves pregnant and alone. One is a teenager and the other a graduate student. Each woman makes a different decision about how she will handle her pregnancy and the story unfolds from there. ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this book better than "Into the Forest". Two women are raising their daughters, and both have difficult experiences in their own ways. One is on the lower socioeconomic scale, with a high school education, and one teaches college. Their paths end up crossing, and each one learns from the other how to be strong in tough situations. It's hard to explain any more about this book without giving away some of the story.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
At one point in this book, I almost stopped reading because it upset me so much. I was redding late at night, and after that I had a hard time going to sleep. It took me several days to realize that any book that could affect me so profoundly was worth finishing, and I'm glad I did. On the end, I didn't love this book as much as "Into the Forest," but given that that book is one of my all time favorites, that's not too surprising.
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Christmas gift, 2007, from my mom.

Wanted to read this because I loved Into the Forest, but I was very disappointed in this one. Predictable and a bit dull. In addition, I thought the author took a fairly clear anti-choice stance, and I was surprised to read her comments in the Reader's Guide interview about NOT taking a position on the issue. The character of Cherise was the one bright spot, but I still couldn't recommend this to anyone.
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Hegland's novel Into The Forest is one of my all time favorites, so this novel had a lot to live up to. I wasn't disappointed, although I did not like this one as much as the other. I do feel that Hegland has a great ability to tease out the nuances of relationships between women, whether they are related or not. I very much enjoyed the last third of this novel as the women's lives are entertwined.
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly liked Into the Forest and Jean Hegland's style. The main characters lead parallel lives, reflecting different choices and life experiences around pregnancy and parenting. Cerise's story is almost too pathetic, but so true to women I have worked with. Anna's life seems so much MORE...but I can relate to making a move you don't want to make and trying to adjust. Similar to Into the Forest, the ending was vague. Perhaps the author likes the unknown.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book shows the convergence of two young women, who both had unplanned pregnancies. Each made a decision about that pregnancy that would forever affect them. Hegland demonstrates flawless prose and character development in this haunting novel. Both Cerise and Anna are people the reader comes to know very well. It ended in the only way it could, and is a poignant reminder that we all live with the choices we make.
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jean Hegland once again demonstrates her poetic sensibility and gift for developing character and situational depth in her second novel. The joys and heartbreaks (and I do mean heartbreaks) of motherhood are detailed in this story that follows two women over the years, but the message is ultimately one about humanity, not just about being a mother.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this fictional story of two mothers--one privileged and one not. The stories run in parallel, but eventually intersect. Between the various references to grandmothers, canning, and apple trees, I was hooked. Provoked some interesting thought about mothers and children. I'd recommend it.
HRM Maire
Apr 10, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked this book, and I enjoy her writing very much (her first novel was fabulous). Perhaps I need to be a mother to get more out of this? Not sure. Perhaps I need to reread the book, because when I reread her first novel, I kept getting more out of it and liked it even more.
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most insightful books I have ever read about what mothers feel like throughout the different stages, joys, trials and tribulations of motherhood. The characters were so easy to relate to. I plan on readin gthis author's other books as soon as I can.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a good story. It follows the story of two young girls who both get pregnant, but make different decisions about what to do. It's interesting to follow the story of both girls and see how their lives turn out in the wake of their decisions.
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Jean Hegland's first novel, INTO THE FOREST, has been translated into eleven languages and is a frequent choice for campus- and community-wide reading programs. A film version starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood is scheduled for release in spring 2015. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY promises her second novel, WINDFALLS, is “a good prospect for reading groups.” Excerpts from her non-fiction work, THE LIFE ...more
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