A poignant memoir about one intrepid, unforgettable girl and her extraordinary childhood in 1950s small-town America
Welcome to the childhood of Catherine McClure Gildiner. It is the middle of the 1950s in Lewiston, New York, a small and sleepy American town very near Niagara Falls. No one is divorced. Mothers wear high heels to the beauty salon and children pop Pez candy and swing from vines over a local gorge.
But at the tender age of four, it becomes clear to her Cathy's parents that their rambunctious daughter is no ordinary child and they soon put her "to work" at her father's pharmacy. Already able to read road maps, she accompanies Roy the deliveryman on his routes. In memories that are by turns hilarious and deeply moving, she shares some of her more fantastic deliveries - sleeping pills to Marilyn Monroe (in town filming Niagara), sedatives to Mad Bear, a violent Tuscarora chief, and fungus cream to Warty, the gentle, and painfully lonely operator of the town dump.
Shortlisted for Canada's prestigious Trillium Award, Too Close to the Falls is sure to delight fans of smart, honest, and poignant childhood memoirs such as Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life and Mary Karr's The Liars' Club. It is a beautiful portrait of a life so full it is bursting, written through the innocent, yet incredibly worldly eyes of a child.
"[A]nyone who appreciates a good story, well told, will find it in Too Close to the Falls". - St. Louis Post Dispatch
"It captures the essence of childhood itself....Altogether compelling. I cannot recommend this book enough." - The Toronto Star
"Memorable and skillfully told...Anyone who ever was, or has, a child considered different will enjoy this book." - The Globe and Mail
"In each eventful chapter, Gildiner focuses on a particular adult who strongly influenced her understanding of the world. Often dangerous, her experiences, as related here, are also amusing, charming, and relevant. Highly recommended." - Library Journal
"A messy portrait of a messy childhood, but rather moving in spite of itself." - Kirkus
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Catherine Gildiner has been in private practice in clinical psychology for nearly twenty years. She writes a monthly advice column for Chatelaine, a popular Canadian magazine, and contributes regularly to countless other Canadian newspapers and magazines. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three sons.
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