The Shock of the Fall takes the reader on a journey with a schizophrenic young man as he struggles to deal with his illness and the impact on his family of a dark event from his youth. Sounds pretty grim on the surface but this wonderful book manages to have a lightness of touch and an emotional punch that makes the book a captivating, exhilarating and deeply moving read.
We are skilfully introduced to Matthew and his confused yet startlingly logical world. Of course the logic is only logical to him, as we learn from the way he deals with the confused responses of those around him. Nathan Filer manages to extract plenty of gentle humour from these situations, skilfully juxtaposing those with some very bleak and lonely moments.
I loved the relationship between Matthew and his grandmother, the poignant few pages involving a Bristol City football shirt and an acquaintance of his. The stupefying boredom of life in a secure unit is conveyed brilliantly, so it comes as no surprise to read that Nathan Filer is a registered mental heath nurse. There are though, so many wonderful passages in this book that it would be foolish to list them all.
My family, in common with many of you out there has experienced a great deal of mental health issues. We’ve probably spent more time dealing with those than the physical impairments that are easier to talk about. Hopefully books like The Shock of the Fall will help to break down some of the barriers that people errect around mental health issues.
That last paragraph makes me worry that you will think that the book is hard work or over worthy, it really isn’t. It’s a beautifully enjoyable and touching insight into a world that is very close to many of us, yet one that we often try to push away.