The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock of the Fall
Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

I should say that I am not a nice person.


Once, Matt had an older brother. But when he was just a kid, there was a terrible accident and now he doesn’t have a brother any more. Because Simon is dead and Matt can’t help thinking it’s his fault. In the Shock of the Fall, Matt tells his story, from that last day with his brother to his descent into mental illness.


This book was just so sad. From the very beginning, the sadness seeped through the pages. It was definitely the wrong book to read on my commute. People tend to look at you funny if you tear up on the train.

Shhh, shh. It’ll be okay. He sounded so grown-up, so gentle and certain. For the first time in my life it truly felt like I had a big brother. In the few short seconds whilst I waited for Mum to come out, as I cradled my knee, stared at the dirt and grit in the skin, convinced myself I could see the bone, in those few short seconds – I felt totally safe.

There is just so much sadness in this book. It is told from Matt’s perspective, in his own words, and he blames himself for his brother’s death. His parents, particularly his mother, also have trouble dealing with Simon’s death.

However, this book is not just about grief, it is also about mental illness. Matthew recounts how he spiralled down and ended up on the psychiatric ward, how he got out just to go back again.

Her brother has a disease, an illness with the shape and sound of a snake. It slithers through the branches of our family tree. It must have broken her heart, to know that I was next.

I thought the book dealt very well with both grief and mental illness. We get a very intimate look into Matt’s life, thoughts and emotions. I liked Matt and I loved the other characters as well. Simon and, most of all, Nanny Noo. It was great that we also get to see how they suffer for Matt as well.


A sad book about a man struggling with mental illness and guilt over the death of his brother.


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