When I spotted The Shock of the Fall book on the shelf of a charity shop, it really interested me and even more so when I looked up the background of the author, Nathan Filer, and seen some of the people that had reviewed it. Having people with mental health issues or working in the mental health sector discussing things and coming up with fiction books is by far better than somebody with no to very little personal experience trying to hodge podge a story together based on half-baked assumptions and stereo-types.
The way the story is written makes it a lot more understandable and easy to digest. The story itself is quite muddled and at times clearly reflects the internal thoughts and feelings of the main character but the way that it has been put together allows for each puzzle piece to fall perfectly into place.
Looking through reviews on Goodreads and other similar book community sites what became really apparent here is that the people that seemed to struggle to understand it or the format of the book had very little understanding of the different ways that mental health can manifest in people. The people that found it the most moving and relatable also discussed their own experience or knowledge or mental health and how they found the way Nathan Filer to compose the story to be thoughtful, balanced and realistic without going over the top or trying to cram too many themes in there too obviously.
There are a lot of themes in the book but some of them are done in a much more subtle way that allows for the reader to reflect on the additional difficulties and how so many different elements of mental health can be combined together and become a confusing mush of issues for professionals, friends, families and the person suffering. It is a really interesting and thoughtful reflection on mental health and it felt really captivating and at the same time personal to me as certain bits stood out.
It also allows the reader to remember that there are some things in our pasts that will shape us forever and how it will never go away. Those things will appear in very different forms to each person that has been affected by it, as is the case of the death of the brother in this story. It reminds us that each difficulty faced, however it manifests, is completely valid but needs to be understood and respected by people.
The book was a bit of a heavy read but it also captivated me to the point of me completing it in less than 24 hours. Certainly recommend if you have an ability to reflect on mental health issues or have an empathy for people that might be going through a variety of struggles.