Book Review: The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer


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Published: 2013

Genre: Popular Fiction

I came into contact with this book on several occasions. Not only did I see it on EVERY bookstore shelf, I was also recommended it. By Amazon. I swear they rob me of all my money this way. I was intrigued by the title, but since I do like to be surprised by the books I read, I hesitated googling it or reading any proper reviews on it. Then it went half-price and I had no excuse to not buy it!

It was a really interesting read. Written in diary form, there are a variety of different fonts that the author uses, to mark parts in the narrator’s life. He also includes letters that he receives and on occasion draws pictures to illustrate certain points he wants to get across. This combination I think makes him feel more real/authentic. Like he could have really written this!

We are first introduced to the narrator when he was a child, and we are taken on the journey to his adult years. His writing is really simple, down to earth and easy to understand. But things to get a bit ugly and quick. It starts with the death of his brother. Something that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Primarily because he blames himself for it, and feels as though his parents blame him for it too. He also mentions this which I found to be a huge foreshadowing:

“I can only describe reality as I know it. I’m doing my best, and promise to keep trying. Shake on it.” (66)

One has to be very careful in trusting him and believing everything he says, because he is Schizophrenic. Near the middle of the book he stops taking his required medications, and the things get really interesting. You get he visit from his grandmother, that all of a sudden leaves you questioning the narrator’s sanity and goals. I find myself not trusting anything he was saying near the end.

“I’m a person who reads a lot of meaning into stuff, forever hunting out the small print. You’ve probably gathered that by now. I don’t meant to do it, but I can’t help myself. I see symbols. I see trick of reality.” (271)

And that is quite frankly the truth. I think the author does a phenomenal job in terms of writing through the eyes of a Schizophrenic. It reminded me a lot of the film “A Beautiful Mind” near the end especially. I don’t particularly enjoy reading books about mental illnesses because I get emotionally attached to the characters and then it just terrifies me how people can be wired a certain way and sad at the same time because they live in a world surrounded by aliens.

“If people think you’ re MAD, then everything you do, everything you think, will have MAD stamped across it.” (216)

Verdict: A very quick and moving read. It is pretty sad though. Well written and really worth a read.

Are there certain genres that you stay away from because of how they make you feel?

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