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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Falling Through the World, by Rachel Clarke, Reviewed.

I read this novel as part of the research I’m undertaking before writing an account of my own experience of ME/CFS. The book is written from the point of view of a teenage girl brought down by this dreadful condition. It’s an honest, funny, moving and, at times, harrowing account of the life of a sufferer.

The reader is exposed to the prejudices of the ignorant, the helpless ignorance of the general medical profession, the casual cruelty that can come from friends and relatives, and the total lack of understanding that so frequently accompanies this much-misjudged condition.

Although this is a novel, it’s also a work that encapsulates the reality of ME/CFS. At the same time, it captures the fears, hopes, dreams and sorrows of a teenage girl and, to some extent, those of her family and friends.

A well-written story, full of hope, questioning, self-doubt, frustration and ambition, it carries the reader on waves of emotional ups and downs as the narrator describes what’s happening to her. Not a long novel, it nevertheless manages to incorporate most of what it’s like to live with ME/CFS, and provides readers with useful clues as to how sufferers, their families, and their medical helpers can best be approached.

There is the strong possibility that all readers will have some contact with either a sufferer or a member of the family of a victim. Because of this, I recommend the book to all. It’s punchy, accessible and short enough for all to read. Please do that, and educate yourself about this condition that attacks and ruins the lives of so many people of all ages.
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