Book Title: Fallen Standing: My Life as a Schizophrenist
Author: Reshma Valliappan
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
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A Bird’s Eye View
I came across Reshma Valliappa, by the rare dealing of card by the universal chance, while browsing for a random topic in TedTalks. I hung out with two or three Tedtalks by her and one of which she was daringly herself. I came across her book a couple of months back and decided that I would read it and review it. Reshma as a person is very clear given that clarity was such a far cry. Yet the author’s voice is clear. If seen with the empathetic reader’s eyes then I believe the author created a scenario and a front seat view of her world.
The Story in a Nutshell:
The entire Creative Non-Fiction (CNF) is centered around Reshma and her main supports. The book doesn’t have things happening linearly. There is a huge jump in the events that the parts where you felt ah now Reshma conquered it, the fall-out happens. Please don’t read this book for some story of a young girl coming to terms with drug addiction, voices, medication, symptoms, friends, school, the nostalgia of imaginary friends who aid and abet her world. This is not the normal novel that you just pick, flip and set aside as done with.
The fact that every single word rang like a gong in a Buddhist monastery. I have been reading this book since last Monday. I took my time as each page gave me the chill and unusual sense of foreboding. The fact that Val put up a brave front and fought with her inner perceptions while being a part of the so-called ‘normal.’
Despite the sadness that piled upon sadness, Val tried to make light of the situation. The understanding that comes from the empathetic understanding of what Val wanted to convey to her audience can be felt in the tempo of her rushing symptoms waiting to overwhelm her and her family who seem close yet not so according to her perception. But then Val fights for holding herself together without breaking into innumerable pieces of her self.
Interestingly, there is no straight line for the story in this book. It is more spurt of episodes that lead to other episodes. It is not sufficient you just read and dismiss it as a rant of a person whose sanity is questionable. It is at this juncture that I started to ask the question are we all normal to make a sweeping statement of others who grapple with reality and mind borne illusions.
My Likes and Dislikes
I liked the fact that Val starts her CNF rather at her adolescent grown-up days of being a student in the higher secondary grades. The story is non-linear and is sometimes all over the place with many gaps in them.
I liked the fact that she walked from unaffected narration to think in the later parts of the novel. There are great depth and concern to be understood and the emotions that get to be suppressed and then get blurts out like the magma from the bowels of molten lava of suppressed thoughts.
I honestly don’t know if I should give my opinion on a being’s life. Among myriad colors of life, I hold the shining prism of Reshma’s life and the trip down her alley soaking her smokes, emoting with her fears that reeked of stale clothes in the bin due for a wash. It was a life lived in her words. It was the hardest book that I read and it really cannot seem like the rest of the works that I usually read. This book truly opens up people’s eyes on issues related to Mental health and its care around the globe.
Image source: Amazon.in