A new novel that is about a guy who develops schizophrenia has won an award in the UK. It sounds like the book is helpful in removing stigma related to schizophrenia, and is written by a mental health nurse:
"“I set out to write about the character and his illness is one aspect of his character and there are many more than that. But certainly I felt having decided that schizophrenia would be part of the novel I felt a responsibility not to propagate the myths surrounding that.”
A Review of the Book: Shock of the Fall
Overview of the book:
The Shock of the Fall is told through the eyes of Matthew Holmes, a young schizophrenic boy who has spent the last ten years struggling to come to terms with the death of his elder brother Simon when he was nine years old.
Since Simon’s death, Matthew’s life has taken many different turns. From being home schooled by his over-protective mother, who rushed him to the doctors at the slightest sniffle, to moving out of the family home at 17 to live with a friend, the now-19-year-old has constantly struggled with the overwhelming grief, and guilt, at the way Simon died. His stint as a careworker, helping his friend look after his disabled mother, further highlights Matthew’s caring nature and puts you right on his side as he struggles with an illness that is trying to define him as a person.
Matthew is someone you warm to instantly. He displays genuine guilt for what his parents, extended family and close friends go through with his mental illness, and when describing people his wicked sense of humour is also apparent. It takes a real talent to be able to make someone laugh out loud and be moved to tears in one book, and Filer clearly has that in spades, drawing on his own experience as a mental health nurse.
There are elements of the book that seem a bit unexplained; his mother’s own illness is mentioned regularly yet not explored in depth, and Matthew’s chance encounter with a significant person from his childhood when he’s at his lowest ebb seems somewhat contrived, but you feel such affection for him that those slight niggles are easily forgotten.
The Shock of the Fall is a fantastic debut from Filer. The disjointed way in which Matthew tells his story, with an injection of both humour and sadness, is Adrian Mole meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The book concludes with Matthew, always a keen writer and artist, preparing to publish his story – and Filer does an excellent job at really making you wonder whether or not Matthew will ever get better.