If I Ever Fall
by S.D. Robertson
Is holding on harder than letting go?
Dan’s life has fallen apart at the seams. All he’s ever wanted is to keep his family together, but everything seems beyond repair and, try as he might, he can’t turn back time.
Maria is drowning in grief. She spends her days writing letters that will never be answered, unable to connect with the real world.
In the face of real tragedy, can this couple find a way to reconcile their past with a new future? And is love enough to carry them through?
“If I Ever Fall” tells the story of grief from three different view points, however this is not fully understood until a few chapters in, leaving the reader to try and work out who’s who and what’s going on. The layers need to be pulled back to see what’s truly going on. This made for a confusing read and needless to say, I didn’t love it.
“I don’t know who I am”
We start the prologue with Jack’s story, which is most confusing of all. He wakes up one day and has no clue who he is, where he is or how he got there. He’s staying with a man who he’s not sure he can trust and as time passes he dives in and out of memories, reality and his dreams to try to piece his life together. I liked Jack’s story, I feel like, if properly developed, this could form a thriller of its own. Imagine you wake up in a house with no TV, no clocks, no newspapers and there is a man who’s claiming you’d chosen to throw your phone and life away to go and live with him in his house. It’s creepy and worth exploring!
Chapter One starts in 2017 with Maria’s story which is completely different. It is told through letters to someone called Sam, a character we don’t know for a good chunk of the book. These letters weren’t as heartwarming as I feel they were intended to be and felt a little unnatural and stiff. The author uses these letters to fill in background information and to provide plot points to get the story line moving, they include dialogue and events that people wouldn’t usually write about in this manner. Maria is hard to like and I didn’t have much interest in her lengthy chapters.
Dan’s storyline was the most natural, mainly focussed around family life and work, we meet Dan in the present and go back from there. These chapters were easy to read in his journalist’s voice as he came to terms with his marriage breakdown and difficulties with alcohol and smoking.
Sadly, I just didn’t feel like the chapters flowed, they weren’t cohesive and felt choppy. I didn’t hate it, yet couldn’t connect with the characters or their disjointed storylines. Perhaps I’m not this book’s target audience, I don’t know, but I just wasn’t as entertained as I’d have liked.
The messy ending was left open, perhaps a little too open, but I’m glad not to have read another happy-ever-after. It’s always interesting to put your own twist to a story’s end yet I think this book would have benefited from being shorter, a good 100 pages off would have sufficed.
Overall rating: This book wasn’t all terrible, it did have some redeeming parts – parts which I enjoyed – yet I found “If I Ever Fall” to be confusing, long and at times drab. I’ll give this 2 stars overall.