×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Before You Know Kindness
     

Before You Know Kindness

3.1 28
by Chris Bohjalian
 

See All Formats & Editions

Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives, The Sandcastle Girls, and The Light in the Ruins, presents his most ambitious and multilayered novel to date—examining wildly divisive American issues like gun control and animal rights with his trademark emotional heft and spellbinding storytelling skill.

 On a balmy

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Before You Know Kindness 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
sherii More than 1 year ago
Reading this book has been one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. Bohjalian seems to be following a series of instructions from a writing seminar: incorporate description into dialogue, maintain interest by alternating between various scenes/characters, find "quirky" expressions ("a decade and CHANGE") and scatter them about to create "voice." The problem is that these tools seem too obvious--I'm conscious of him working VERY HARD, and don't seem to work.

I care about what happens to these people just enough to make me soldier on (I, too, read just about everything, and face life with an optimism that even if this moment is less than satisfying, what comes next might be different), but I find the parents incredibly inept and everyone quite whiny and self-indulgent. I fear that I will be disappointed at the end (I'm ~ 2/3 of the way through) either because I have been emotionally manipulated, or because everything is going to tie up in such a nice little bow it could be packaged by Hallmark. Either way, I'm not optimistic.

I also get the feeling that the author thinks I'm too stupid to recognize causality, even after I've been hit over the head with the same analogies or reminded of the same event over and over again. The book might have been decent with a more assertive editor, but I guess we won't ever know. If this is his "best work" so far, I'm certainly not interested in reading anything further.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read everything he has written and enjoyed them all so much but this one changed me.. If you read this book and don't come across with a more gentle way about you, I think you may have missed the true meaning.. As the group 10CC once said, 'The Things We Do For Love'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book. I could not stop reading. Although the story focuses on an ordinary family, the author shows us how unexpected events can turn everyone's life upside down.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
Before You Know Kindness is the story of a family thrown into an uproar after tragedy strikes. Twelve year old Charlotte accidentally shoots her father. She thought he was a deer. The result is the permanent loss of his right arm....and a press conference that almost tears a family apart. The big issue here is that Charlotte's father, Spencer, is head of a staunch animal rights organization called FERAL. FERAL wants to use this family's tragedy to highlight it's stance against guns and hunting, and that's where the family is divided. The problem is, that the infamous gun in this story belongs to the brother of Spencer's wife. You'll have to read the book to learn how and why Spencer's daughter Charlotte came to have that loaded gun in her hands the night she shot her father. Before You Know Kindness has some really interesting characters. Bohjalian does a great job at character development and making the reader care. Nobody in this novel is perfect. But that just makes the story more realistic. I was really drawn to the issues in Before You Know Kindness. Vegans vs. meat eaters. Animal rights activist vs. hunters. This is a very candid story covering these very divisive issues. Both sides are covered though, and no matter what your own persuasion, this is a good read. As the synopsis says, "Bohjalian manages to examine some very weighty issues without ever coming off as preachy or pedantic. A triumph."
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story and thought the beginning and middle of the book were captivating. The family dynamics were very real. Spencer's character models several people in all of our lives - after a tragedy anyone has the propensity to transform their priorities. The relationship between Spencer and his brother-in-law is interesting - while people that have very different belief systems can be close and agree to disagree, the differences must be shared and accepted, not hidden. The novel lost a little of it's intensity in the length and dialogue of the families 'figuring each other out'. When the girls initially started lying about what really happened that night, it seemed serious. I am not sure how but that seriousness lost its gusto and yet the book still relied so much on the discovery of the lie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Our reading group read this one and we really had a great (and long!) discussion. We always talk a lot about our own families at Reading Group Night, but this book made us all examine how we are raising our children. Also, I don't think it was boring at all. It's serious at times, but never boring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The description of this book sounded interesting, but what a disappointment. It was very, very slow and boring. I was not able to get into it at all. None of the characters was likeable. And I was angry that Charlotte was, in my opinion, not being held responsible for what she had done to her father. And the uncle was being blamed more than she was. I found myself waiting for a big trial or something to make the story more interesting and was let down. I got this book from the library so the only consolation was that I did not have to pay for it. It's a shame because I really did enjoy 'Midwives'.....oh well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good story which could have been much better written. A good editor could have made it much better. As it is written, it is a fun read which will drive most English teachers crazy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was difficult to finish. I kept hoping it would redeem itself, but it did not. Given that you know what happens right from the beginning, it took way too long (180+ pages) to get to the main event. The only plot that kept the book going was some preteen drama about getting wasted. The plot was unidimensional and not worthy of the almost 500 pages it took to get to the end of it. The dialogue was lacking and, for the preteen characters, utterly unbelievable. Maybe if this book was under $5 and you were low on cash...but otherwise, pass.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rfmanny More than 1 year ago
I didn't hate this book. I actually finished it in a couple of days. The plot was enough to keep me going. However, I found most of the characters to be completely annoying or unbelievable. The only likable character, l0 year old Willow, has the maturity and forethought of someone decades older. It was impossible to believe that a child would behave and react the way Willow does. The rest of the characters were simply annoying. Their reactions to their tribulations are childish. I also got sick of the constant talk of animal activism fairly quickly. As an animal lover myself, I didn't think this would bother me. It feels as though the author intends to make the reader feel guilty for any use of animal products. This book was an easy read, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago