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.
The book follows the Piper family from the late 1890's through several generations of increasingly disturbed individuals. In the beginning of the book James Piper is a piano tuner who ends up running away with Materia Mahmoud, the daughter of one of his clients. Oh, did I mention that Materia is a mere 12 going on 13 at the time?
What comes from their union is the stuff that episodes of Maury Povich are made of. Incest, lies, deception, secrets, and more drama than you can shake a stick at. James is ambitious, self righteous and a bit of a pedophile. His wife Materia is simple, a little childish and resentful of the path her life has taken.
They have three daughters as different as can be. Kathleen, the oldest and the apple of daddy's eye who has an operatic voice of an angel and she knows it. Frances, the wild child and Mercedes, who is very pious and good and who tries desperately to keep her family in line and together but she ends up being sucked into the depravity too, by the end of the book.
I didn't think I would like this book at first. None of the main characters are like-able. In fact, most of the smaller characters are unlike-able as well. These are deeply flawed individuals, making horrible choice after horrible choice and yet I became invested in their story.
Like a bad talk show, the book is filled with many OMG and WTF moments and even a few that left me asking "Wait....WHAT?" as I frantically read on to see what was going to happen next.
Of course I don't get my answers till much later in the book. Ann-Marie MacDonald often reveals major events early but doesn't show the journey that led to those events until much later. The point of view shifts often and you may think you know the story as you read it from one POV, you find that you were very mistaken as the same events is retold through a different character. It kept me guessing and as I finished the book I realized that all was definitely not as it seemed.
It was an extremely dark book, I disliked all the characters and there are very few happy moments but I ended up loving it.
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