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Children of God Go Bowling

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With encore performances by Shannon's mother, Flo and other indelible characters from Welcome to My Planet, Children of God Go Bowling is the heroic, heartbreaking, hilarious story of a woman making her life happen when it didn't quite happen for her. With encore performances by Shannon's mother, Flo and other indelible characters from Welcome to My Planet, Children of God Go Bowling is the heroic, heartbreaking, hilarious story of a woman making her life happen when it didn't quite happen for her.


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With encore performances by Shannon's mother, Flo and other indelible characters from Welcome to My Planet, Children of God Go Bowling is the heroic, heartbreaking, hilarious story of a woman making her life happen when it didn't quite happen for her. With encore performances by Shannon's mother, Flo and other indelible characters from Welcome to My Planet, Children of God Go Bowling is the heroic, heartbreaking, hilarious story of a woman making her life happen when it didn't quite happen for her.

30 review for Children of God Go Bowling

  1. 5 out of 5

    Reese

    "For the listener, who listens in the snow, . . . beholds / Nothing that is not there. . ." (Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man"). The preceding piece of my favorite poem by Wallace Stevens, if it weren't taken out of context, might have little or nothing to do with Shannon Olson's CHILDREN OF G-D GO BOWLING. But by itself, the excerpt climbed out of my memory bank on the heels of my finishing Olson's book (labeled a novel by the author, though it's been referred to as a "semi-autobiographical" work "For the listener, who listens in the snow, . . . beholds / Nothing that is not there. . ." (Wallace Stevens, "The Snow Man"). The preceding piece of my favorite poem by Wallace Stevens, if it weren't taken out of context, might have little or nothing to do with Shannon Olson's CHILDREN OF G-D GO BOWLING. But by itself, the excerpt climbed out of my memory bank on the heels of my finishing Olson's book (labeled a novel by the author, though it's been referred to as a "semi-autobiographical" work). When I decided to get a copy, nothing was "there" but a title that "spoke" to me. Moving through the book often felt like trudging. I attribute my inconstant interest in it to my age and the age at which I was married. Unhappily unmarried women in their thirties and late twenties might not want to put Olson's work down before they've reached the end -- perhaps because they are able to find the humor that many reviewers note and that, for the most part, I missed. CHILDREN OF G-D GO BOWLING has a journey motif, the journey being mental; I tend to appreciate accounts of journeys or quests. And I can't claim that what Shannon (yes, the author gives her own name to the protagonist) is struggling with has no relevance to my own struggles -- past and present. I certainly know what it's like to be self-absorbed, and I'm well-acquainted with the experience of going nowhere because my "choice between security and a life" (271) was controlled by anxiety. Until Shannon can see that what she wants "is not there" in the safe zone, she cannot accurately see what IS out there and determine whether she wants it or not. I found, in Olson's work, a few gems that have universal value -- sapphires, not diamonds. For me, however, there's one five-carat diamond in the book; it happens to appear at the end of the acknowledgments, when the author thanks a friend "who is somewhere bowling a perfect game." I pray that is also true for my brother.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melina

    OMG, I thought I was reading my autobiography for a little bit. Single, 30 something professional from German-heritage, midwestern family who has a best guy friend people keep bugging her to date. Hmm, too strange. But then the story takes a turn and I can safely say that this book is in fact not about me. Would recommend it though to all those single ladies out there!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Hearn

    I actually laughed out loud a few times. I gave it this lower score because I found Shannon and her issues became tiresome after awhile. It was a bit too much like Bridget Jones’ Diary with Shannon belly-aching about how she has no one to love and what about her, her, her? Nonetheless, the writing is good and the humour does shine through in spots.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Brown

    Relatable and realistic, lots of humor and heart Loved this book about a woman who feels out of step with her peers and struggles to find herself through introspection and therapy. It's a step above chick lit: the ending feels earned, because good things happen when you're ready; they seem easy when you have worked hard. To me, that's the message of Shannon's journey. Relatable and realistic, lots of humor and heart Loved this book about a woman who feels out of step with her peers and struggles to find herself through introspection and therapy. It's a step above chick lit: the ending feels earned, because good things happen when you're ready; they seem easy when you have worked hard. To me, that's the message of Shannon's journey.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Stanton

    I reallyreallyreally wanted to love this book since its written by a Minnesoootan about a Minnesoootan and I am Minnesoootan...BUT...it left me wanting. What exactly I'm not sure and therein lies the rub. It was fun but not satisfying....like pieces were missing...and they were the best part. I reallyreallyreally wanted to love this book since its written by a Minnesoootan about a Minnesoootan and I am Minnesoootan...BUT...it left me wanting. What exactly I'm not sure and therein lies the rub. It was fun but not satisfying....like pieces were missing...and they were the best part.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessi Darst

    Unexpected, feels like smaller city living that I'm familiar with. Her anxiety and restlessness were very relatable. Unexpected, feels like smaller city living that I'm familiar with. Her anxiety and restlessness were very relatable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    This is the book my real life book club will be discussing on Monday. It was selected primarily because it was available as a "Book Club in a Bag." It was available because it really isn't very good. The semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical protagonist is Shannon Olson, who lives in St. Paul, is in her early thirties, and feels stuck in her life. She thinks the answer is in finding a husband--that her real life will only begin then. The book starts with her going to visit her younger sister at t This is the book my real life book club will be discussing on Monday. It was selected primarily because it was available as a "Book Club in a Bag." It was available because it really isn't very good. The semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical protagonist is Shannon Olson, who lives in St. Paul, is in her early thirties, and feels stuck in her life. She thinks the answer is in finding a husband--that her real life will only begin then. The book starts with her going to visit her younger sister at the birth of her first child, repeating the mantra "It's not all about me." Sadly, the book is--all about Shannon Olson. She writes well, and is funny, but not funny enough frequently enough to keep the book from sagging from the weight of her self-absorption. The book finally lets in some air when her best friend is diagnosed with cancer; sadly, his death serves only as a lesson to Shannon, which makes the whole thing sink again. Olson's previous work, Welcome to My World* (*Where English is Sometimes Spoken) was well received; it had to be better than this one, or there would not have been a second book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    So, probably actually like 2.5 stars, but I'm rounding up 'cause I'm nice. Um, I don't know, it was okay, not great. Chick lit, basically: thirtysomething girl wants a boyfriend and kids and whines about it for approximately 300 pages, wondering if perhaps her long time college friend is "the one." The main character complains about not being able to "afford" a place that has a washer/dryer, but she visits two different therapists every week. ?! She also didn't really seem to have any problem, be So, probably actually like 2.5 stars, but I'm rounding up 'cause I'm nice. Um, I don't know, it was okay, not great. Chick lit, basically: thirtysomething girl wants a boyfriend and kids and whines about it for approximately 300 pages, wondering if perhaps her long time college friend is "the one." The main character complains about not being able to "afford" a place that has a washer/dryer, but she visits two different therapists every week. ?! She also didn't really seem to have any problem, besides loneliness and some sort of "problem" or "dependence" on her mom. I'm all for therapy when it helps, but seriously? It also tried to touch on some more "serious" issues, but was really not very deep at all. That part felt rushed, and even then, the main character paid more attention to her own imagined problems than what was really important. It did have some parts that made me chuckle, though, and that hardly ever happens, so...yay.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    The main character (Shannon) and her self -absorption/depression grow irritating relatively quickly, I found it interesting that the premise was her depression and inability to change is blamed on the too - close relationship of the daughter with her mother by her psychiatrist (who, interestingly, seem to grow weary of her as well after 6 years of therapy!) I have a habit lately of pulling two books off the library shelf by the same author, on the off chance I will LOVE the author (sort of a flea The main character (Shannon) and her self -absorption/depression grow irritating relatively quickly, I found it interesting that the premise was her depression and inability to change is blamed on the too - close relationship of the daughter with her mother by her psychiatrist (who, interestingly, seem to grow weary of her as well after 6 years of therapy!) I have a habit lately of pulling two books off the library shelf by the same author, on the off chance I will LOVE the author (sort of a flea market search for new authors to explore) and so in its defense, it was good enough to get me to read the second of the books I brought home. An easy read as the writing flows and I was curious enough to see if the relationship with the mother was more detailed in the first book by this same author. At the end of the day, I don't recommend this author- not enough depth to validate the premise, and although the characters are likeable and relate-able, its' not enough for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ken Heard

    Shannon Olson is a great writer. I read her earlier book "Welcome to My Planet" and enjoyed it. This is more of the same. Her character, who is named Shannon Olson, goes to therapy, has an overbearing mother and fails in relationships. Olson has some funny moments, but she also writes from the heart. The last several chapters are really full of pathos and caring, which lifts this book far above the tales written just for funny sake. I'd recommend this for anyone who wants to read something well Shannon Olson is a great writer. I read her earlier book "Welcome to My Planet" and enjoyed it. This is more of the same. Her character, who is named Shannon Olson, goes to therapy, has an overbearing mother and fails in relationships. Olson has some funny moments, but she also writes from the heart. The last several chapters are really full of pathos and caring, which lifts this book far above the tales written just for funny sake. I'd recommend this for anyone who wants to read something well done.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Probably every writer borrows heavily from his or her own life, but it takes a special kind of crazy to give your fictional heroine your name, family members, and life. Shannon Olson is a special kind of crazy. I prefer this to the first not-really-Shannon book, "Welcome to My Planet" (which I've been told was originally supposed to be called "The Bananas You Picked Out," a much better title), but I don't think I learned much from either. Maybe that I should remember everything funny my friends Probably every writer borrows heavily from his or her own life, but it takes a special kind of crazy to give your fictional heroine your name, family members, and life. Shannon Olson is a special kind of crazy. I prefer this to the first not-really-Shannon book, "Welcome to My Planet" (which I've been told was originally supposed to be called "The Bananas You Picked Out," a much better title), but I don't think I learned much from either. Maybe that I should remember everything funny my friends and family say, in case I decide to write a book and cast them as characters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    "A body comes out of seemingly nowhere, grows out of a single cell. Becomes bigger than the sum of its parts, a spirit, a friend, someone you depend on. Then you watch it decay and shrink. A body with cancer harbors hidden, furious life, taking everything in its path, taking on a life of its own, before the person inside of that body can leave." "People want the dying person to have amazing perspective. They want him to reveal secrets. When, in reality, we are all in the same kind of boat. The dyi "A body comes out of seemingly nowhere, grows out of a single cell. Becomes bigger than the sum of its parts, a spirit, a friend, someone you depend on. Then you watch it decay and shrink. A body with cancer harbors hidden, furious life, taking everything in its path, taking on a life of its own, before the person inside of that body can leave." "People want the dying person to have amazing perspective. They want him to reveal secrets. When, in reality, we are all in the same kind of boat. The dying person just knows which particular boat he'll drift away on."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    I wanted to like this book, but Shannon - the character, not the author - is so self-absorbed, I found it an irritating read. Hmmmm, since the author named her main character after herself, what conclusions can we draw from that? Anyway, being in much the same situation as Shannon (again, the character), I wanted to love this book. But it really stretched my patience! Still, there were some amusing sections that I did enjoy. Without those, this would have only received one star from me.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    This book is a sequel to What Planet Am I From, which I did not read but did not seem to detract from this story. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this book as the reason I read it is because my 5-year old picked it out for me randomly in the library. It is pretty much an American version of Bridget Jones Diary. The main character can get to be quite whiney but it is overall an entertaining read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bea

    Shannon Olson is my new favorite author. The relationship between the main character, Shannon and her mother Flo is very well documented and anyone who gets frustrated by interactions with her own mother would probably be able to relate. there is a book that goes before this, I'll try to read it real soon! also this book takes place in Minnesota and really made me think about Jen Hill and Shiloh and their midwestern connections. Shannon Olson is my new favorite author. The relationship between the main character, Shannon and her mother Flo is very well documented and anyone who gets frustrated by interactions with her own mother would probably be able to relate. there is a book that goes before this, I'll try to read it real soon! also this book takes place in Minnesota and really made me think about Jen Hill and Shiloh and their midwestern connections.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ally Bishop

    Shannon Olson wrote an interesting take on chiclit. Her protagonist, named after her, rides a carousel of emotions as she dodges panic disorder, singledom, and life. While the pacing is slow, it still chugs along, focused more on character development and story. She has some great lines, some laugh-out-loud moments, and the end is surprisingly poignant. Definitely a read I would recommend to any woman who is not sure what being single really means.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This is the sequel to Shannon Olsen's "Welcome to My Planet" and it is HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud and I cried. It's just about going back home and trying to fit in, trying to find that one Mr. Right, friendship, etc. It's soooo great. And, despite what I thought when I picked up the book, it is NOT about the Children of God cult. Don't worry. This is the sequel to Shannon Olsen's "Welcome to My Planet" and it is HILARIOUS. I laughed out loud and I cried. It's just about going back home and trying to fit in, trying to find that one Mr. Right, friendship, etc. It's soooo great. And, despite what I thought when I picked up the book, it is NOT about the Children of God cult. Don't worry.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Being based in Minneapolis, I enjoyed all the cultural and location references. I think I was supposed to find this book really funny but there seemed to be a lot of pain and sadness in all the witty barbs/observations. This is why I don't watch comics perform live on stage anymore. It's all kind of depressing. Maybe I'm depressed. Being based in Minneapolis, I enjoyed all the cultural and location references. I think I was supposed to find this book really funny but there seemed to be a lot of pain and sadness in all the witty barbs/observations. This is why I don't watch comics perform live on stage anymore. It's all kind of depressing. Maybe I'm depressed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    The book centers on the emotional state of an early 30s single woman who feels pressure to make changes in her life, but she is stuck. Her personal insights and lack of insights were humorous, and her relationships with her mother, therapist and friends gave the story motion. References to Minneapolis culture and locations was amusing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Shannon Olson writes about being a single woman in her thirties, living in the Twin Cities, finding herself among the last of her friends to buy a house, have babies and "settle down." You might say I found this book pretty goddamn relatable. As in Welcome to My World, Olson's voice is simple, vulnerable and revealing. It's like peeking inside your friend's diary. Shannon Olson writes about being a single woman in her thirties, living in the Twin Cities, finding herself among the last of her friends to buy a house, have babies and "settle down." You might say I found this book pretty goddamn relatable. As in Welcome to My World, Olson's voice is simple, vulnerable and revealing. It's like peeking inside your friend's diary.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Holly Martin

    It was fun that this book was based in Minnesota but the author's woes of growing up as a Catholic in Chaska didn't really hit home for me. I enjoyed the book but it seemed like she spent a lot of time on the never ending details of her therapy and her journey to 'emancipation' for the all too quick to come to a close ending. It was fun that this book was based in Minnesota but the author's woes of growing up as a Catholic in Chaska didn't really hit home for me. I enjoyed the book but it seemed like she spent a lot of time on the never ending details of her therapy and her journey to 'emancipation' for the all too quick to come to a close ending.

  22. 4 out of 5

    suzy

    Funny, with great observations! Of course I liked the Minnesota setting and twin city references. I discovered the Grotto of Redemption in Iowa becasue of this book! Tour it if you can: http://www.westbendgrotto.com/ Funny, with great observations! Of course I liked the Minnesota setting and twin city references. I discovered the Grotto of Redemption in Iowa becasue of this book! Tour it if you can: http://www.westbendgrotto.com/

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    This was like talking to myself! Finally, an author who really speaks to me! This was like talking to myself! Finally, an author who really speaks to me!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julie M

    Shannon Olson is an MFA from the UofM and took writing courses from Garrison Keillor. It's obvious in this tragicomdedy (more funny than serious) drawn from her life (memoir style) in the Twin Cities and at Northfield's St. Olaf College. Shannon Olson is an MFA from the UofM and took writing courses from Garrison Keillor. It's obvious in this tragicomdedy (more funny than serious) drawn from her life (memoir style) in the Twin Cities and at Northfield's St. Olaf College.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I bought this book for a couple of bucks on clearance at Half Price while on vacation, and I have to say that I ended up liking it a lot. This may be because there was tons of similarities with my own life (in terms of locations, names of characters, scenarios, etc.)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen Hannah

    Author is St. Olaf grad; that is of interest to me. "chick lit" as they say. 20 somethings. Shannon writes as herself, 33 yr. old herione looking to meet the right guy. Funny but semi-believable. Author is St. Olaf grad; that is of interest to me. "chick lit" as they say. 20 somethings. Shannon writes as herself, 33 yr. old herione looking to meet the right guy. Funny but semi-believable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Schmoyle

    This book was sadly awful. I found it quite narcissistic and condescending. All of this was disappointing as I was excited to see my city highlighted, but found some of my favorite places were instead ridiculed. I could not relate with many of the main character's first world problems. This book was sadly awful. I found it quite narcissistic and condescending. All of this was disappointing as I was excited to see my city highlighted, but found some of my favorite places were instead ridiculed. I could not relate with many of the main character's first world problems.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca A.

    Interesting little novel. A different take and tone on the whole Growing Up Thing, in which the thirty-something protagonist, Shannon, learns how to begin to live her own life. Shannon is called a semifictional heroine, so that adds interest.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Hills

    This is, hands down, the best book I have read this year.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Shannon Olson is truly underrated. Her books can be lumped in with chick lit, but really, they're smarter than that. And more compassionate. Shannon Olson is truly underrated. Her books can be lumped in with chick lit, but really, they're smarter than that. And more compassionate.

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