‘Falling Angels’ by Barbara Gowdy is a fast-moving and action-packed novel. It is about three sisters called Sandy, Lou and Norma. We meet them at the beginning of the novel in a crematorium. Then the story takes us back 10 years later when the girls are from 8 to 10. The story really starts off when they discover their mother’s past.
They live with a drunken mother and an army fanatic father. We follow these three sisters from 10 years, observing their physical, emotional and moral changes. As one starts to date at a young age, another one starts smoking and the last one thinks she is a lesbian, we get close to these women and share their inner-most thoughts. It is written is such a way that underneath a funny and entertaining story, we discover a real depth to the novel and a strong bond between the sisters. They stand united and determined to make the best of their lives and make it through the thought times together. The three girls start off leading pretty much the same life but when they become teenagers, these lives diverge into three roads and the story separates into three parts. We learn more about the girls through their actions and behaviors. The reader feels close to the three sisters because he shares their thoughts and feelings though the novel is written at the third person.
Barbara Gowdy writes with and excellent touch and manages to make the reader laugh out loud though the theme of the book is a very sensitive subjects. She makes the reader feels disturbed about the lifestyle of the family in the novel: they are poor, they drink and their mother is sick. The reader can identify himself to these characters whom appear simple but as we read on have a certain complexity in them. This story is the perfect sum up of life. Life with its ups and downs, life with its unanswered questions and most of all teenage life where change is the most important thing of all. The author knows extremely well the life of teenage girls and conveys her characters’ doubts, questions and "how will it be’s" is a very realistic way.
I personally though this book was written in an unforgettable style and that it grabs you from the start and lets you go only at the end. Barbara Gowdy has an obvious touch with writing and makes the reader learn a valuable lesson in life: to stick together no matter what.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes to read an excellent and heart-warming novel. Girls and boys will thoroughly enjoy this story though girls will identify themselves to the characters more than boys will. A beautifully written novel which will touch readers’ hearts and make them ponder on life and death for quite a while.