It is a story of grief and pain, and of how different people deal with them. It is a story of a family destroyed by the loss of two sons - one who is dead, the other who is trapped in the ever-changing world that is mental illness. It is a story about love and hope, about forgiveness and about understanding. It is a story that is not true, but is very real. It is a story that pulls the reader in from the first few startling sentences and does not let go until the very last word.
Nathan Filer's writing is accomplished, mature, realistic and shockingly accurate. Matthew is flawed, he's ill, he's vulnerable and he is honest. The descriptions of his experiences in a psychiatric ward are harrowing at times, the other patients, the staff, the environment, the boredom. Sleep, eat, smoke, watch TV - and again, sleep, eat, smoke.
Matthew has flashes of self-perception, he knows that he is ill, he can work the drugs system, he knows that he must have his depot injection, and he knows what effect that has on him. Matthew is capable of love. His wonderful grandmother, otherwise known as Nanny Noo, is the only person who really 'gets' Matt, the only one who allows him to be himself, never giving up on him, never judging him and always loving him. Their relationship will bring a lump to the throat, it is just beautiful.
|Nathan Filer - photo from nathanfiler.co.uk|
|Ants - from www.nathanfiler.co.uk|
Nathan Filer has a brilliant website; www.nathanfiler.co.uk. You can also follow him on Twitter here
With thanks to Harper Collins publishers for providing copies for the Random Things Reading Group to review, you can read more of the group's reviews at www.readinggroups.org