The Shock of the Fall
(cover art by Shutterstock.com)
Borough Press 2013
I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.
Usually, I have a weakness for books dealing with mental illness in any form. This one however, somehow didn’t grasp me. It was a fun read, but to me, nothing special.
The writing itself was quite interesting. The story was told from a first person perspective, going back and forth between different times in the past as well as the present. Because there were different times in the past, it wasn’t always easy to figure out when something had happened and weather this was in fact in the past, or perhaps the present. I didn’t find this an issue in the beginning, but as the book continued, this started playing up more and more, which made it hard to focus on the story.
I appreciate that the book is about mental illness and a difficult one at that: a schizophrenia-type disorder (I don’t think the official diagnosis is given anywhere). Unfortunately, many writers leave out one of the most prominent aspects of this disorder: the negative symptoms; withdrawal from people. These symptoms are very hard to eliminate, even after the voices/delusions have gone. Missing out on this happened in this book as well. Besides hearing voices everything seems just dandy; which is not realistic.
It’s hard to connect to the main character in this book, everything seems quite shallow, staying close to the surface, without every plunging in. The only moments I could get a glimpse into anything more emotional was when Nanny Noo was around.
Conclusion: for me this was an okay read, but it wasn’t anything special.