“Although Catherine Gildiner didn’t grow up dirt-poor in Ireland, or communing with gophers on the Depression-era Prairie, her tale of life as an eccentric, middle-class Catholic school girl in 1950s Lewiston, N.Y., is no less memorably and skillfully told than [Angela’s Ashes and Who Has Seen the Wind?].… a revealing and vivid portrait of small-town America around the 1950s.… Anyone who ever was, or has, a child considered different in some way will enjoy this book. The author is among those who has survived the funny, sad, hard knocks of butting childhood ideals up against the real world, of painfully seeing through, and losing faith in, the rote pieties of religious indoctrination, and the hypocrisies of small-town respectability, 1950s-style. The author’s maturity, her ability to forgive rather than blame, informs this book and is the ultimate gift to the reader.”
— Moira Farr, The Globe and Mail

A “lively and immensely engaging memoir.”
— Philip Marchand, The Toronto Star

“Richly detailed and absorbing, Too Close to the Falls has only one real fault. It ends too soon.”
— R. M. Vaughan, Toronto Life

“Told with humour from an unsentimental child’s-eye view, Gildiner’s memoir captures the era (advertising jingles, 45 rpm records, Elvis Presley’s above-the-hips appearance on the Ed Sullivan show) and her unusual childhood as the only daughter born late in life to the town druggist and his eccentric wife.”
— Laurie,  Parry Sound Books

“Gildiner writes these stories in the clear and matter-of-fact voice of a child, which induces a tone of hilarity throughout the novel. The whole book is a joy to read—page after page rolls out the eccentricities of Cathy’s life in complete contrast to the staid views of the people of Lewiston.”
— Anjali Kapoor, Lifewise Book Club

“Anyone who appreciates a good story, well told, will find it in Too Close to the Falls.”
—  St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Toronto psychologist Catherine Gildiner’s Too Close to the Falls is both funny and true, a sometimes bizarre but completely believable story. In its particulars, it depicts the formative years of an extraordinary child, but it also captures the essence of childhood itself. The combination is altogether compelling; I cannot recommend this book enough.… A fascinating childhood is no guarantee of a fascinating memoir. It still takes a gifted writer to translate the past into a work of art, and Gildiner is a gifted writer. Her prose is intensely colorful, like a concentrate, but never overwhelming or labourious in its details. Against a vivid backdrop, she brings into focus those moments when the child’s world and the adult world intersect, when illusions are shattered and understanding begins.”
— Jamie Zeppa, The Toronto Star

“This is a life so full it’s bursting. Gildiner beautifully portrays her outrageous youth through the innocent, yet sometimes frighteningly worldly, eyes of a child. Her writing is sparse and clean, often laugh-out-loud hilarious. There are notypical memoirish moments of spitefulness. Each experience is a lesson. Too Close to the Falls is a clear picture of a young life worth writing about.”
— Michelle Berry, Quill & Quire

“Far from being ordinary, her childhood reads more like fiction than a memoir.… In Too Close to the Falls, Gildiner manages to convey a tone of childlike wonder with just a twist of adult irony, which emphasizes its fictional feel. The stories of her adventures are told in an absolutely reasonable voice, as if every kid went to work at age four or ate out at restaurants for nearly every meal because their mothers refused to cook.”
The Halifax Daily News

“… [a]nd it’s here that the book is best — when it feels wryly understated and authentic. Authenticity isn’t the same as truth; it’s also about trust…. In memoirs, trust is terribly important making a particular story universally enjoyable.”
— Jeanie MacFarlane, The Hamilton Spectator

“Catherine Gildiner’s Too Close to the Falls supplies no end of mischief and delight. This memoir, about a bossy, precocious, Catholic girl growing up in Lewiston, New York, next to Niagara Falls, made me laugh long and loudly.… Too Close to the Falls shimmies and shakes with Gildiner’s hilarious antics as an inquisitive, competitive school girl.… What makes this memoir startlingly witty and vivid in every detail is Gildiner’s sense of invulnerability. She seems unaware of danger of the possibility of failure. She never indulges in self-pity or sentimentality. Like a good comedian, Gildiner has a split-second sense of timing. Her writing sparkles on the page and the episodes she recounts have the clarity of ice after a winter storm in Lewiston. This is a memoir that makes the world seem fresh again, and worthwhile.”
Literary Review of Canada

“In Too Close to the Falls, Gildiner manages to convey a tone of childlike wonder at the world with just a twist of adult irony, which emphasizes the fictional feel of the narrative.”
— Kim Covert, The Canadian Press