- Paperback: 356 pages
- Publisher: Plume (July 29, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452289653
- ISBN-13: 978-0452289659
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 92 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,534,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Falling Under Paperback – July 29, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Danielle Younge-Ullman is a novelist, playwright, and actor from Toronto, Canada. Her one-act play, 7 Acts of Intercourse, debuted at TorontoÂ's SummerWorks festival in 2005. This is her first novel.
Top customer reviews
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Honestly, I was not expecting for this book to be what it was; I was thinking it would be a dramatic romance but not a heart tearing, sob inducing, need a glass of wine type book. I did not expect to have an afternoon cry fest when I picked it up. I should not have called for a pizza while finishing the last 15% as I am pretty sure the pizza boy thought I had just learned of a death in the family. It is one of those books that still has me thinking the next day!
The book goes back and forth between present and past which worked really well in this case. Mara's parents divorced when she was very young and put her through more than a little girl should have to go through. She doesn't feel particularly loved or nurtured by either parent and starts emotionally detaching herself from situations. Not only is she detached but she doesn't care much about herself. For example, she loses her virginity to a guy she isn't even dating or on a date on because she is mad at her best friend and needs something to give her pain to take that pain away. She falls into some relationships that she shouldn't and ruins relationships that she shouldn't. This girl was so incredibly broken and makes Olivia from The Opportunist look normal at times! She has an intense fear of dying or those around her dying, anxiety and intimacy issues.
To give you an idea of how Mara feels about herself, here are her own thoughts, "If I were painting me, I'd paint a half-person, a woman chased by monsters. They catch at her legs, tear at her clothing, lurk in the alleyways and jump out to grab her as she passes, taking chunks of her and swallowing them whole. She reaches for love, runs towards it, grasps and holds it for a beautiful moment before it turns ugly and drags her down."
There is no shortage of men in this one. First, there is Caleb who Mara has a relationship with when she is 16 and he is 34. I didn't feel that she loved him but that she liked some of the attention she was getting from him when she really did not have a strong parental figure. Then there is her college boyfriend Lucas; I had a hard time reading into their relationship but of course Mara sabotaged it. Lucas would die while they were dating and this has a huge impact on Mara leading to her issues with death. I do not want to spoil the book for anyone but the circumstances behind his death are shocking and heartbreaking, expect major tears as that story unfolds! Sal was Mara's bed partner turned business partner; he was her escape but not someone she is in love with. The two men that are in her present are Erik and Hugo. Erik is a dark, wounded soul himself. Mara and Erik do not have a real relationship but she uses him as a booty call when she cannot chase the demons away. Things you learn about Erik will shock you as the story goes on! Hugo is a veterinarian who Mara meets in a bar one night. He is very normal and really the complete opposite of Mara. To be honest, I had a hard time determining who Mara loved and if she even has the capability to love the right way.
Most people love Hugo from the reviews I have read and I would agree that he is a super nice guy but I am team Erik. I thought what he and Mara had was far deeper, more raw. I felt a passion there that I did not feel with Hugo but I realize that I may be alone in that thought. I am curious to see what "team" everyone else is on. Of course, I will not be telling you who she ended up with;)
There were a few lighter, funny moments in this story which came during Mara's interactions with Bernadette (Mara's bff) and her inner monologue with her overly crazy self. The first half is a mix of funny and sad but I would say the last 40% of the book is completely heartbreaking. I felt sorry for Mara and wanted to drive her to therapy.
My one complaint about the book was how quickly it ended. It was so dark and raw for quite some time and then things were a little brighter and the story was just over. Part of me wants a second book to have some more resolution.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes an emotional read and needs to clean out the tear ducts.
The prose is unique in its own way, structured differently, but in a way that totally works and speaks to the storyteller's voice, as opposed to having a lack of skill at sentence structure. And I am totally grabbed by the opening paragraphs. I almost cried right then. It was that powerful.
This is an amazingly story, and I instantly connect with Mara. She's real. Her world is real. And her mind and the terrors that hold her prisoner... are vivid and intense and skillfully rendered with both humor and compassion. It's raw, and powerful. Her life, her art, her past, her present... all come together for a true understanding of who she is and where she's going.
I have one complaint... and that's that in the very end, we don't know who arrives at the end of the evening... its left to us to wonder. And... I don't know!!!! It's a testament to how real the characters have become to me that I'm left in agony... that I can come up with two different people in her life who this arrival would be, and the entire reasons why its one of them and not the other... and I really want to know! No, I need to know...
Anyway, highly recommend this book. Incredibly amazing work and I can't wait to read more by this author.
It is so well written that the reader gets detailed images of what's happening inside of Mara. Your need to know more and more makes the book hard to put down.
Mara is clearly mentally ill but surviving in her world. I would compare her to the characters in Silver Linings Playbook, in that you know there is something very wrong but you cheer them on with every small step they make toward a more normal life. Mara struggles just to leave the house and walk down the street. She plays out wild flights of negative and gruesome imagery in her mind but when asked how she is doing always replies "I'm fine."
Mara is supported by a wonderful cast of characters. Bernadette is her best friend since grade school and does the most to keep Mara from completely loosing herself. She meets a wonderful veterinarian, Hugo, along the way. Hugo is pretty unconditional in his acceptance of Mara. Everyone should have such a partner. We also witness many of the interactions with Mara and her alcoholic father and emotionally unavailable mother.
With low self esteem, Mara has no compass when it comes to most of her sexual encounters. She just has them with clinical detachment. She goes into crisis when she starts feeling happy with Hugo. She thinks to herself, "Being happy makes me nervous and living like a so called normal person is not the same thing as being one."
This book had me thinking about it even when I wasn't reading it. It's one of those stories that just doesn't leave you.