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Coming Ashore: A Memoir
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Coming Ashore: A Memoir

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  319 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Picking up her story in the late ’60s at age 21, Cathy Gildiner whisks the reader through five years and three countries, beginning when she is a poetry student at Oxford. Her education extended beyond the classroom to London’s swinging Carnaby Street, the mountains of Wales, and a posh country estate.

After Oxford, Cathy returns to Cleveland, Ohio, which was still reeling
Hardcover, 396 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by ECW Press (first published October 1st 2014)
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Catherine Hi I am not Dianne but the author, Cathy Gildiner. Yes, you can read just the third books without the other two.

The answer to your second question…more
Hi I am not Dianne but the author, Cathy Gildiner. Yes, you can read just the third books without the other two.

The answer to your second question is, yes, I did write two memoirs about my life before I was 21. The first one, TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS was a childhood memoir about my life working full time in my father's drug store. I delivered drugs with a black delivery car driver. The book is about our life together.

The second book is called AFTER THE FALLS and without including any spoilers is a bit darker than the first because some tragic things happened. This volume investigates who a teenager handles family trauma. Also this book is about the 60's where I was involved in Civil Rights and investigated by the FBI and a murder trial.

So as Dianne might tell you, a LOT happened before I was 21. If you have the time you might want to read the books in order so you will know why by the third volume, I am slightly odd-- you will already know about my odd childhood then.(less)

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Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I won this book as a door prize at an Author Brunch sponsored by McNally Books in Toronto in October 2014. The author spoke at the brunch, and she was very amusing. Her book was even more so. At first I was skeptical that anyone could write three books of memoirs while still in her 60s -- how many lives did she lead, for heaven's sake? But this third book which describes her life in her 20s, was really funny and since she is almost the same age as me, I could identify with much of it. I'm ...more
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is a true literary tragedy that Catherine Gildiner is not going to write another memoire. I can't think of anyone past or present who has led a more interesting life. Of course she met Marilyn Monroe, of course it was Bill Clinton who encouraged her to cheat in a rowing match at Oxford. Of course she set up her friend with Jimi Hendrix, and of course she hung out with Northrop Frye. Was she held hostage by a knife wielding crazy man in the bowels of an insane asylum? Of course! She is the ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gildiner's memoir reads like a chatty, choice selection of her best-of memories -- which is impressive, considering that this is her third memoir. Hers seems to have been, if not a charmed life, an adventure-packed one. Studying at Oxford when Oxford was very much an old-boys club; biking through a glass window; almost dying of exposure while hiking in Wales; teaching Ginsberg to students at an inner-city school; unknowingly moving into a housing complex for the blind; unknowingly moving into a ...more
Sandy Bishop
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How much fun was this to read? Gildiner's father said she should be a comedian. I'm glad she chose the pen rather than the stage. This is Gildiner's third memoir, of ages 21-28, during the late 60's and early 70's. For those of us who grew up in these times, this is a trip down memory lane, from the US civil rights movement, anti Vietnam protests, Kent State slayings to inner city teaching, feminism, love and Jumi Hendrix. With wit and inspiration, she relates her many escapades in the US, class ...more
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
There were some entertaining moments in this memoir, but I have to say that the author's repeated references to how "American" she felt while studying in Oxford and Toronto really began to get on my nerves. Being hyper-active and lacking filters is not necessarily endearing. Also, for someone who claimed to have led such an active life, she was stunningly ignorant of so many things, like basic geography, the existence of the feminist movement in the early 70s, even the Holocaust. Eventually, I ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I won this book thru a good reads giveaway. It is a good non-fiction book. I look forward to reading her other two memoir books.
Jon Redfern
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have now read all three in the series of Gildiner's inimitable memoir. In this one where young Catherine goes to Oxford is filled with many merry incidents where our Yankee takes on the British in their class, their intellectual tastes and their lifestyles. Cathy is warm and observant and ruthless, in spots, staying true to her honest eye when gazing at he world around her.

There are many funny scenes as one could expect from Gildiner. She has an uncanny ear for dialogue, status details such as
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great finale to the trilogy that began with 'Too Close to the Falls'!

Early in the book, when Cahterine Gildiner went to Oxford, as one of very few female students, I knew I was hooked. Hers is a most unusual peek into those hallowed halls, and I loved her naive but open-hearted take on everything from the living arrangements to the rowing races.

I expected the book to flag when she returned to the States, and subsequently moved to Canada, but it did not. For one thing, she actually lived
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
Excellent. If you read one entertaining book in a year, I'd suggest this one. Catherine Gildiner, nee McClure, continues the dramatic, eccentric, astonishing story of her life. In her early twenties, during the tumultuous times of the late sixties, early seventies, she meets the outside world in the form of near Old South Southern Ohio, the brilliant and mostly upper class world of Oxford University, a drug house near the University of Toronto, and the vibrancy of the early second wave women's ...more
Lori Bosworth
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this memoir to all of my U of T friends or anyone who has taken an English undergraduate course or anyone who is interested in Toronto's 1970s counterculture for that matter. Ms. Gildiner is one daredevil who has one adventure after the next and the people she meets along the way are fascinating and include rock stars, English nobility and FLQ members! The author has an amazing storytelling ability and her humour is rampant throughout her memoir. Perhaps its her naivete that ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won this book on Goodreads.
I will probably read her other books since I enjoyed this one a great deal.
She has a really cleaver wit and a clear way of telling a story.
Loved the little pictures at the beginning of each chapter too.
The story itself was worth writing about and was done in a very interesting and entertaining manner. I had to laugh out loud in many places (which is not something I often do when reading).
I liked the comparisons to other countries and people and how she expressed
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the last memoir in a series of three. In the first two books, Catherine Gildiner deals with her early life in Lewiston and Buffalo, New York. In this last book, she is 21 in the late sixties, and in on the road to higher education, starting at a university in Ohio, then Oxford and finally living in Rochdale to attend the University of Toronto. Along the way, she meets such diverse personalities as Jimi Hendrix, drug dealers and members of the FLQ. A very interesting book.
Melanie Ting
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio
Catherine Gildiner is bold and slightly insane. This latest installment of her life story had me laughing, gasping, and admiring her courage. The most hilarious chapter, set at a English estate, was a mash-up of Rebecca, Young Frankenstein, and Meet The Parents. Gildiner is a role model for anyone who wants to live by her own principles, even when everyone around disapproves. The only bad part of the book was when she stated this will be her last memoir.
Jill Robbertze
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this third memoir which is as interesting and entertaining as her first two. Cathy's story is brought full circle when she finally finds her true place in the world both professionally and in her personal life.
Fun, witty, and so many adventures.
Charlotte Osborn
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
As always another captivating, engrossing, amusing and moving book from Catherine Gilding. I didn't want it to end. It was fantastic getting a real life view into the world of the 1960s, Oxford and Toronto. I loved it but it lacked the emotional attachment of the earlier two. Massive emotional happenings were ended or summed up in a sentence. I needed more closure. The story just seemed to end and we were left to hope there was a happy ending.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just finished reading Catherine Gildiner's trilogy of memoirs. Each is very different, all entertaining, funny, sad and provide a real window into her life from early childhood to adulthood (early 50's to the 70's). I loved the many references to real life events of the time and her encounters with now famous individuals. Very enjoyable reading.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining account of Cathy McClure's roller-coaster ride through the 1960s-1970s. At times she seemed unbelievably clueless about other people's reality (particularly since in many ways she was clearly very perceptive), but this was before Google, after all.
Diane Madlon-Kay
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
Interesting and entertaining book. Well written and very readable. Some fun memories from the 60s and 70s.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Terrific ending for the trilogy. A thoughtful yet casual read.
Esther Bradley-detally
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh the heaven of reading this third book,having read her previous two and been so enchanted. So bright, so witty, whimsy, pathos, forthrightness, sublime and laugh out loud prose; absolutely superb.
Erin Mcleod
A fabulous follow up to “Too Close to the Falls.” and just as funny. Both volumes are manifestos on living life to the fullest no matter what, and are highly recommended.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Loved her two previous books and loved this one too ... dry , honest and entertaining!
Chuck Erion
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
my review for The Waterloo Region Record, Nov. 2014

My relationship with Catherine Gildiner began in November, 1999. Her childhood memoir, “Too Close to the Falls,” had just arrived at our bookstore and I grabbed it for the long drive to my parents’ home in Sudbury. All I knew was that it took place on the American side of the Niagara River. My early years were spent on the Canadian side in Niagara Falls. The first chapters were too funny to keep to myself, so I read it aloud to my
Timothy Phillips
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third memoir of Catherine McClure (Gildner). The first and second, entitled “Too close to the Falls,” and “After the Falls” describe her early life from childhood to young adult. I had read the first memoir and was captured by her terrific ability to recall and evaluate events in her life as young as four years of age. What a remarkable and obviously very bright precocious child. “Coming Ashore” is an account of her life from age 21 onwards, beginning as a student at Oxford and ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This third memoir, following riveting accounts of the author's childhood in Niagara Falls and then her teen years in a suburb of Buffalo, take us in this volume to her college years at Ohio State and Oxford and finally grad school in Toronto, where the author settled and still lives. Acknowledged to be a bright handful from an early age, the author is adept at recreating times long past such as the protests of the Sixties, the hierarchical perspective of her colleagues at Oxford or brushes with ...more
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the third memoir I’ve read by Catherine Gildiner and I hope it won’t be the last. Although in the preface she says that this is the final book, I’ll continue to hope she changes her mind. Cathy McClure (the young Catherine Gildiner) has a Forrest-Gump-like ability to meet some of the most interesting and famous people. In this book she has encounters with Jimi Hendrix and Bill Clinton (he was an unknown student at Oxford). The book takes place during the late 1960’s to the mid 1970’s and ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, memoir
The third (and final) volume in Gildiner's hilarious memoirs. The book ends when she is in her 20s with her marriage. She says her ensuing story is no longer just hers to tell, and her family wishes her to stop! There are 3 very interesting locales: Oxford, Cleveland (really) and Toronto, all during the time of protests and hippies. She is bright, feisty and high-spirited, and incredible things happen to her. I will miss not reading future installments, but perhaps she will turn to other forms ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
The third and final volume of Catherine Gildner's memoirs suffers from the fact that she's all grown up now: what was charming and remarkable in a growing girl seems somewhat redundant and even vainglorious in the adult – yes, we realize how bright and daring and unconventional and generous you are, we just don't care about it as much in this book. Happily, the story is still chock full of unique encounters and adventures that keep the reader engaged, but perhaps not as absorbed as did the first ...more
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coming ashore as autobiography 1 6 Sep 12, 2014 09:37AM  

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Catherine has written two best selling memoirs. The first is called TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS and was on the best seller's lists for two years. It is about working full time from the age of four.

Her next memoir AFTER THE FALLS covers her teenage and college years where she got involved in civil rights and was investigated by the FBI.

COMING ASHORE, her final memoir is coming out this fall. It is about
“gave me a going-away present on behalf of Rochdale, a book by Paul Tillich called The Courage To Be. Bob wrote inside, Cathy, read this sometime in your life when you need “to be.” He was right. Later in my life when I was at a low that book pulled me through.” 0 likes
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