Falling Through The World – a book review
I was almost scared to read Falling Through The World by Rachel Clarke because knowing that it was a book about a person with M.E. written by a person with M.E., I so wanted to love it. I wanted to be able to relate to it. I wanted to not be disappointed or frustrated by it. I hoped that it wouldn’t be preachy or patronising, that there would be no element of faux-optimism that people so often feel the need to include in a story involving illness and adversity. As it turned out, I had no reason to fear.
Falling Through The World is written from the perspective of a teenager with M.E., so although certain aspects of the protagonist’s life felt slightly alien to me in terms of my own uneasy co-existence with this condition, it reminded me that many of the experiences that people with M.E. have are actually pretty universal. The tone is genuine and real, and I found myself feeling emotionally invested in the characters from the beginning.
I also found myself nodding a lot, thinking “Yes! Exactly!” and generally spending a lot of time relishing the feeling that someone out there ‘gets it’. While there is an obvious on-going focus on the symptoms of M.E. and how they effect the live of the protagonist, the book is delightfully void of both excessive woe-is-me self-victimisation or, conversely, declarations of miraculous revelation.
The author cleverly highlights the glaring gaps in the UK medical profession’s knowledge about and treatment of M.E. and demonstrates with painful accuracy how isolating and fundamentally life-altering this illness can be. Although the book is full of insightful and interesting information about M.E. (obviously meticulously researched, which is very satisfying), Falling Through The World is not just a book about an illness. It is a book about grief and love and family and relationships and discovery. It is poignant and achingly honest, and reduced me to tears more than once.
Rachel Clarke speaks from the heart. Her voice is one worth listening to.
Posted on February 3, 2013, in M.E., M.E. in the media and tagged book review, books, chronic health, Falling Through The World, Falling Through The World by Rachel Clarke, illness, M.E., ME/CFS, Rachel Clarke. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.