Helllllo readers, hope you’re enjoying this wonderful week. I have a really interesting and exciting book for you today. I think this book has been on my radar for months but I just didn’t get around to picking it up yet which is actually really silly of me. My friend sent me this book along with a hella amount of chocolate and it really just sorted out my day (Hattie you angel.) Hope you enjoy the review as much as I enjoyed those chocolate buttons.
‘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.’
There are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.
There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.
There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.
The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.
This is the story of Matthew, Matthew is a young man that suffers with schizophrenia, a teenager suffering with mental illness in the wake of the sudden death of his brother Simon. It could seem like a difficult read based on the subject matter but this an easy and flowing read (which might seem like an odd comment.) The time is fragmented throughout, there are different typefaces and it dips in and out of different places in Matthew’s mental illness.
Narrated by Matthew himself this story tells a really striking description of schizophrenia. It’s convincing, honest and moving. This felt incredibly moving in the tone as he takes and doesn’t take his medication and we capture a hell of a lot through Matthew’s eyes. Whether it’s bitterness for the past, sadness, wit or anger it’s perfectly portrayed through the eyes of our main character Matthew. The author manages to paint an incredible picture of what is inside Matthew’s head.
The story is beautifully told – Matthew’s fragmented mind allows us to get a history of his family, the jobs he’s experienced. It adds body to the novel, it adds a feel, it adds a sense of character. Characters that surround Matthew are beautifully written. They allow us to truly experience Matthew and understand how his brain is working. It’s a terrifying but beautiful tale.
I really liked the descriptions of Matt’s parents; presented as a family that sits together and watches Eastenders, the mix of family awkwardness, the secret handshake and the mother’s attempts at home schooling after the brother’s death. It’s difficult to believe that this is a first novel because it is so accomplished. It might not be the most action packed book, but it is utterly, utterly bloody beautiful.
Throughout this book I felt really emotional, I felt stressed and overwhelmed, I found it difficult to put the book down and I felt an utter devotion to Matthew. We never know what people are really going through until it’s sometimes to late and I think sometimes that terrifies me. We’re all different, we’re all struggling with something bigger than ourselves and sometimes it’s not easy to see. In Matthew’s bumbling but incredibly intelligent prose we get to experience all of that. He might be swearing, he might be yelling at someone, he might be stuck inside a memory or hinging on an episode of near exhaustion but it’s all Matthew. It’s everything that has happened to him
So why should you pick up this book? Why should you add it to your Amazon basket, or your Goodreads to read list. It’s a beautifully, brilliant book full of light and dark, shadow, shade and also beaming beautiful bright light. It’s a book to give perspective, it’s a book to give hope, it’s a book to give understanding. It’s a book to make your little noggin think and I adored it.