Synopses & Reviews
"Breaking Her Fall is a corker-- vivid, brilliantly marbled with harmonies and textures and people vibrant with life." -- Richard Bausch
Just before eleven on an ordinary summer night in Washington, D.C., Tucker Jones picks up the phone, expecting to hear that his teenage daughter, Kat, is back from the movies. But the caller is another parent, a man who tells Tucker that Kat was actually at a party-- and makes a shocking allegation about what happened to her there. From that moment Breaking Her Fall sweeps irresistibly forward to it s wrenching, and redemptive, conclusion.
In a blind rage, Tucker races to the party to find Kat already departed, but his full-boil interrogation of the boys still present spills over into a confrontation-- and ends with one of the boys crashing into a glass tabletop. In a second, his rage turns to remorse, and he soon finds himself under arrest. Tucker could easily lose his home and his business, but he is most concerned about losing his daughter.
Stephen Goodwin writes with insight and rare power about the way that passion rearranges lives. As Tucker and Kat and everyone around them seek to repair the damages of that night, Breaking Her Fall charts their uncommonly difficult passage from despair to reconciliation and hope with extraordinary grace.
"Breaking Her Fall is a frank, plain-spoken, passionate novel that got its grips on me. It is, in one sense, a page turner, and in another a true and good story of human frailty and imperfection survived." Richard Ford
"A corker vivid, brilliantly marbled with harmonies and textures and people vibrant with life." Richard Bausch
"Smart, serious, and contemplative." Kirkus Reviews
"Psychologically acute....A memorable exploration of familial love and penance, with a likeably bewildered and articulate protagonist." Publishers Weekly
"BREAKING HER FALL is a frank, plain-spoken, passionate novel that got its grips on me. It is, in one sense, a page turner, and in another a true and good story of human frailty and imperfection survived." - Richard Ford
On an ordinary summer night in 1998, my daughter, Kathryn - Kat, we all called her, a fourteen-year-old who still liked to wear her blond hair in pigtails - told me that she was going to the movies with Abby, her best friend, but they never got there. Instead, they hooked up with some other kids, and decided to blow off the movie. It was a hot, dense Washington night, and one of the boys - Jed Vandenberg - invited everybody back to his house. He had a pool. His parents were away. The kids started drinking beer and vodka shooters. Just before eleven, when Kat was supposed to phone to let me know she was safe at Abby's house, I got a call from a stranger.
Just before 11 o'clock on an ordinary summer night in Washington, D.C., Tucker Jones hears a devastating allegation about his daughter, a party, and some boys. From that heart-stopping moment, Love Comes Over You moves with irresistible force to its wrenching and redemptive conclusion. In a desperate rage, Tucker races to the party to find his daughter already departed, but his full-boil interrogation of the insolent boys ends with one of them crashing into a glass tabletop. In a second, Tucker's rage turns to remorse, but the gears of the legal machine are quickly set into motion, and they threaten to grind Tucker exceedingly fine. He can easily lose his home, his business, and his freedom, but Tucker is most concerned with losing his daughter. Stephen Goodwin charts their uncommonly difficult passage from bleak despair to reconciliation and then to hope with extraordinary grace and insight.
"A whip-smart first novel that gripped me with its wry humor and wonderfully real characters" (Curtis Sittenfeld, author of American Wife), and the story of a stay-at-home dad who's holding his life together by a thread
When your compass is taken away, how do you navigate? Stay-at-home dad Logan Pyle is holding his life together by a thread: his larger-than-life father, Gus, has just died, his wife is distant, and his kindergarten-age son has regressed to drinking from a baby bottle and sucking his thumb. Complicating matters further is Bennie, Guss beautiful young widow, with whom Logan has a troubled past. When the thread finally snaps, Logans actions threaten to tear the family he treasures apart. Carried by Logans wry, original voice, this moving debut follows one mans journey from child to parent.
About the Author
Stephen Goodwin comes from a large family whose roots are Irish Catholic, Russian Jew, Pennsylvania Dutch, and English. He was born in Pennsylvania, raised in Alabama, and went to high school in Rhode Island. He attended Harvard College and served a tour of duty in the army before receiving his M.A. at the University of Virginia, where he studied with Peter Taylor. His first novel, Kin, was published in 1975, followed by The Blood of Pardise in 1979. Goodwin is a co-founder of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and served as its first president, and he was Director of the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts from 1987-1989. His articles and short stories have appeared in a number of magazines, including GQ and The Sewanee Review, and he has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merril Foundation, and the NEA. He now teaches in the Writing Program at George Mason University.
Reading Group Guide
Q> In what way does Washington, D.C., form a meaningful backdrop for the novel? How do class hierarchies affect the plot? What observations does Tucker make about suburban versus commercial aspects of his community? Q> Are money and sex equally powerful in Breaking Her Fall? In what way do finances influence Tucker's power struggle with Kat's mother? Q> In your opinion, what motivated Kat's actions at the party? Who appears to be ultimately responsible for what happened? How would you have responded to the late-night call from John Fogarty? Q> How does Kat's heartache compare to that of the adults in her world? Are her coping skills much different from theirs? Does Kat mirror or defy her parents' example? Q> How would you characterize Lily's marriage? Why is Tucker more attracted to her than to Christine? Q> Is Tucker's relationship with Kat typical of most fathers and daughters? Does Tucker use a different approach in raising his son? Does Lily's parenting style reflect gender distinctions in a child's upbringing, or are these distinctions shaped more by environment? Q> Discuss the concept of injury and harm as portrayed in this novel. What (or who) are the truly harmful forces in the characters' lives? Do you consider Kat to be a victim of rape? What is the best way to ensure the sense of security Tucker craves? Q> How do the novel's characters define justice and morality? What seems to drive their sense of ethics? Q> When Tucker went to Jed's house, was he trying to rescue his daughter or control her (or both)? Will he ever be comfortable with the notion of his daughter's sexuality? Q> Why might the author have chosen oral sex as the basis for Kat's upheaval rather than another form of sexual behavior? Do you define it as "real" sex? Q> What is the significance of Lily's father in Breaking Her Fall? Did he impart any of the same attitudes to Lily that Tucker tries to evoke in Kat? Does Tucker's relationship to his own parents, particularly his mother, offer any insight into the generation by which he and Lily were raised? Q> Do you perceive Jed as a villain or a victim? Do you predict any transformation in his father's personality after this incident? Would Jed and Abby have been successful parents? Q> How does that one night (along with its resolution) encapsulate Kat's life with Tucker? Q> How have attitudes toward dating and sex changed since you were Kat's age? Why is fourteen a particularly charged age for girls? Q> In what way does Kat break her father's fall?
Copyright © 2004 Harcourt, Inc.