The Shock of the Fall
By Nathan Filer
This book is about mental illness, loss, and the unending grief that goes with that loss. Dark and difficult subjects. And yet this book never descends into a depressive story. It is sad and sometimes scary-how easy it is to slip over the edge. But it is also funny, touching and strangely uplifting.
Matthew Homes is the protagonist who narrates the book. The story begins just before his brother is killed (this is not a spoiler, it is in the blurb on the back of the book) and charts his descent into madness (schizophrenia).
Through Matthew we see how this also affects his family, especially his mother who has already lost one son and can barely stand the weight of her grief.
The author gives Matthew such a strong voice that he is in your head and you really feel you know him and, even better, you empathise with him. This book makes you a better person.
His relationship with his Nanny is brilliant, she has already had experience of mental health problems with another member of the family and she comes across so well having plenty of idiosyncrasies herself.
Nathan Filer does such a good job of bringing Matthew to life and the humour that runs through the book is wonderful. One of my favourite moments is when Denise, his care co-ordinator, visits and finds him drinking alcohol:
‘”Really Matt,” she says.
“You’re your own worst enemy.”
That’s a strange thing to say
To someone with a serious
mental disease. Ofcourse I’m
My own worst enemy. ‘
I would highly recommend this book, it has great characters, a good story and is thought- provoking.