Book Review | The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

“Mental illness turns people inwards. That’s what I reckon. It keeps up forever trapped by the pain of our own minds, in the same way that the pain of a broken leg or a cut thumb will grab your attention, holding it so tightly that your good leg or your good thumb seem to cease to exist.”


It’s very rare to find a book that deals with a mental illness in such a delicate and real way but Filer achieved this in his debut novel. Filer drew on his own experiences working in the field of mental health which gives the book a realness that others which deal with the same theme often lack.

The story is narrated by Matthew a young adult who has schizophrenia. His life was turned upside down by the death of his younger brother, Simon, a few years back. I personally felt that Filer was able to voice the true frustrations that Matthew experiences with his illness. The effect of his symptoms and frustrations are cleverly shown by the different uses of fonts and sizes. This only added to reader understanding the kind of struggles Matthew faces every day. However, not only does Filer excellent show the affects Matthew’s mental disorder has on his life but he also shows how it affects Matthew’s family.

I fell in love with the book the first fifty pages in and once I had started reading I didn’t want to stop. Although the book deals with a dark subject the book isn’t completely depressing but instead deals with a variety of emotions that seems fitting. The book is well balanced but more importantly it’s truthful and I loved that about this book. Filer didn’t sugar-coat anything it’s real and I think that’s what drew me to the book in the first place, that and the beautiful cover!

I read this book at the start of my summer and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I’m actually not sure why I didn’t write up a review before now because this book was wonderfully written. Sometimes you read a book and it’s one you can simply place back on your bookshelf without thinking twice about the contents or the characters, one you can keep to yourself. This book was not like that. This book left me thinking long and hard for a long time once I had finished and it’s one I’d love more people to read.

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