‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’
Author: Nathan Filer
Another book that looks into mental health – if you haven’t already guessed, this is one of my favourite topics to read about.
Throughout the book, Matthew discusses life around the time of his brother’s death, life at the time of being in the day center/psychiatric ward, and life in between. This makes the book a lot better than if it was just told from the present perspective, because you get more of a sense of emotion.
I liked the chance that we got to see a bit of Simon at the start of the book. Although he isn’t actually alive for most of it, it adds more character that we get glimpses of him. This also links to the well-covered topic of grief. Both the grief and the guilt (guilt being something I can’t cover in this review, as it would be considered spoilers) could be considered part of the cause of Matthew’s schizophrenia. This isn’t always obviously labelled as grief throughout the book, but it is easy to guess for yourself. The book doesn’t cover the grief of others too much (such as his parents), but just enough that you get to see how all their lives have been affected, and how this has resulted in certain chains of events.
One of my favourite characters would definitely have to be Nanny Noo. She is, obviously, Matthew and Simon’s grandma, and although she isn’t a character you’d think would be seen much in a book, she plays a key part in Matthew’s life. I also have to admit that she is similar to my own nan in certain ways, such as her stubbornness, which makes her a lot more likeable for me personally.
I think this book balances out the emotional content well. There are parts that can make you cry, but also parts that can make you laugh, and let out that breath you didn’t know you were holding in.
Happy reading xo