Book Review | After the Falls
Author: Catherine Gildiner
After the Falls: Coming of Age in the Sixties is outrageous.
Outrageously funny, engaging, insightful, and touching. Catherine Gildiner is a talented storyteller and writer who creates a story so compelling and so real, I was completely engrossed. At times, I was moved to tears.
The fascinating aspect of After the Falls is that much of Gildiner’s youth was ordinary yet she retells it with extraordinary skill. While there is nothing (or not much, at least) that is outrageously funny, Gildiner is able to glean humor out of almost every situation. Take, for example, Cathy’s mission to rid her community of black lawn jockeys, also known as the Black Lawn Jockey Civil Rights Project.
“I was mystified as to why someone in Buffalo, New York, who had a tasteful large brick home with a beautifully landscaped lawn on a tree-lined street, would think, “Gee, our house isn’t complete until we have a statue of a black slave topped with a small jockey cap on our lawn.”
That caper marked an important turning point for Gildiner, as it was her first foray into civil disobedience, for the sake of civil rights. That would become an important part of her life.
It’s quite amazing how Gildiner is able to make readers feel not like spectators of her life story but like insiders. You’ll feel, as I did, as though you’re right alongside Cathy, as she faces a myriad of struggles — typical issues like adjusting to her new, smaller home in “Tiny Town,” fitting in at her new school, dealing with her parents, and navigating the trials and tribulations of being a teenager as well as far more fascinating ones that come with being a child of the 60s.
I loved this book, plain and simple. Reading After the Falls is a nostalgic experience. But it does leave you wanting. Wanting to read Too Close to the Falls, that is. And then perhaps re-reading After the Falls.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*