After the Falls: Coming of Age in the Sixties by Catherine Gildiner
Published by Viking Adult, an imprint of Penguin
Review copy provided by the publicist
We meet Catherine Gildiner when she is twelve years old, after she and her family have moved from Niagara Falls to a suburb of Buffalo, having sold the family business, a pharmacy. Gildiner struggles to assimilate at her new school, but quickly becomes popular and well-liked, and finds herself a part-time job. We follow her throughout middle school, high school, and into college where she attends Ohio State University. This memoir is alternately funny and touching as Catherine Gildiner tells her story.
I received After the Falls as a surprise from the publicist, and one evening when I was in the mood for a memoir, I decided to pick it up. I read the book fairly quickly, although I was mildly disappointed to discover that this is a continuation of her earlier memoir (which I hadn’t heard of, let alone read), but was entertained all the same. Gildiner’s style is brutally honest, but in a funny way, and she definitely knows how to tell her story in a way that will make the reader not only laugh along with her, but also relate to many of her stories. Heck, I didn’t grow up in the sixties, but I certainly felt like I could relate to some of the events in the book myself.
I have to admit, though, that the specifics of what exactly I liked about this book are a little fuzzy. I think because it’s the type of book that, while interesting and funny, does not challenge the reader to think much at all. Because I was just along for the ride, reading almost passively, I didn’t find myself engaging much with the story. Therefore, the details of this memoir sort of all blend together in my mind.
That being said, reading After the Falls was definitely an enjoyable experience for me. The author is extremely likeable and fun, and her story is one that will resonate with a lot of readers. I might suggest reading her first memoir, Too Close to the Falls, first (although I didn’t) as I imagine it might be easier to get into this book if you already “know” the author. All in all, this is an interesting memoir that is sure to entertain.