A book I recommend: Miss Cockburn
The Shock of the Fall is an award winning novel that follows the story of Matthew Homes, a 19-year-old boy with Schizophrenia. He starts off the novel by recalling a holiday 10 years earlier with his parents and brother Simon, who tragically died. As the story unfolds through Matthew’s inner thoughts, feelings and sketches we see him wrestle with both his Schizophrenia and his guilt over his past actions. It is a heartbreaking but gripping tale of one man’s journey to redemption and good health. The writer himself was a mental health nurse before lecturing in Creative Writing at Bath University, so his descriptions of Matthew and his struggles have a sincerity to them that makes this story thought provoking and original. The book has been compared to Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (which I read with both of my Year 9 classes this year) and it isn’t hard to see why. Both writers create characters with illnesses of the mind in powerful and absorbing ways that allow us to empathise with them without pitying them. A definite must read.