I received a copy of this book from Hideaway Fall in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.
When the publisher of Drift Stumble Fall first contacted me, they described this book as “a darkly humorous exploration of the danger of our modern fascination with assuming perfection in each other’s lives”. I’ve always related hard to the “grass is always greener on the other side” saying and I jumped at the opportunity to review this book.
Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.
Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.
On the outside, it looks like Richard Brown has it all. He has a decent job, a wife, and two young children. What looks idyllic from the outside, is anything but on the inside. Richard hates his life. He feels trapped and the only feeling he can draw for his family is resentment. So, he spends his days staring out the window at Bill Marsden’s seemingly perfect life. Bill and his wife are old and the only occupants of the house across the street. And Richard would give anything to be in their shoes instead. But, unknown to Richard, Bill has his own problems.
The characters in this book have been written really well. Richard is obviously depressed, and that shows in his thoughts and actions. He is highly critical of himself and his failings as a father, when in fact, he’s good with his kids. Where many authors fail in writing depression accurately, Lee handles it expertly.
The writing is also excellent and poetic at times. The only negative I found was the ending, which, despite being heartbreaking and raw, felt a little abrupt and forced. But, I don’t know if this story could have ended any other way.
Drift Stumble Fall is poignant, sad, and accurately captures all the emotions an anxious or depressed person may feel. If contemporary books which discuss mental health and family life are your thing, you should definitely read Drift Stumble Fall.
Rating: 4 out of 5
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What did you think of my review? Will you read this book? Let me know in the comments!