The Shock of the Fall – by Nathan Filer

8 06 2018

Matthew is about 19 when he tells us this story, at least, I think he is, but it jumps around a lot it gets quite hard to follow.
When he was younger, his brother Simon died on a family holiday – we don’t get many details until later in the book, but it’s done real damage to Matthew. He’s gone between living on his own, being in psychiatric wards, other care places, to be honest it’s quite hard to follow. He also still sees Simon around… and avoids taking his medication to keep seeing him.

There’s a computer available to him in one of the places and he’s writing his story, which in places is what we read – I think that’s what the bits in typewriter font are meant to be, but I’m not sure, it’s quite hard to follow. You’ll notice I’m repeating myself, he does that a lot too, so I quite liked the idea of adding it in here!

The book flashes back to his childhood with his brother, to that holiday, to the time after, all through to the present day, but not always in any given order, and he can jump somewhere for a paragraph then jump back to where he was just before. It’s quite hard to follow.

It’s not a bad book, but I don’t know that I’d rave about it. I’d probably put it at the good end of average, or the average end of good.

That said, there was a line I really liked: “Reading is a bit like hallucinating”. I’d never thought of it that was before!

He also talked about the worst thing about his illness was that it made him selfish. I think that’s something true of a lot of people with mental health issues (me included) – I think sometimes you have to be selfish, in order to look after yourself, but actually that can be one of the hardest adjustments!

A decent book, but probably not one I’ll reread….!

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