Sat Oct 10 2009
Section: Weekend: Books
Byline: SUSAN SCHWARTZ
Source: The Gazette
She did such outrageous things as a teenager – like take the family car when she was only 13 to meet friends at the local pizza joint and, a few years later, get herself hired as a short-order cook at a Howard Johnson’s even though she didn’t know how to cook – that several times while reading Catherine McClure Gildiner’s memoir about coming of age in the 1960s, I laughed out loud, the way I would at Lucy Ricardo’s antics on I Love Lucy.
The young woman we meet in After the Falls is sassy and cocksure, absolutely. But the book is more than simply funny and Gildiner, then Cathy McClure, is not just outrageous. She is smart and caring, determined and enterprising, curious and brave. And some of the tales she tells are nothing short of harrowing stories in which sex, infidelity, even murder, figure.
Gildiner came of age in the United States at a time defined by the Vietnam War, by civil rights demonstrations and by the death of Martin Luther King – and readers see the time through the prism of her experience. “We all lost people in Vietnam,” she said in an interview. “We all knew people who were maimed.”