I am back on track with my Barrington Stoke reviews. After the sweetness and light of Sterling and the Canary by Andy Stanton, The Fall by Anthony McGowan is dark, dark, dark.
From the start The Fall is obviously a denser book than most Barrington Stoke titles; no pictures, more words on a page and a harder use of language. By page five we have read about death, bullying and young offenders. By then end of chapter one I was thoroughly depressed and things do not get improve as the tory progresses.
This bleakness isn't a problem, the book is hugely relevant. I read it during the Summer 2011 riots, and it got to the centre of society's issues better than most media coverage I have seen. Dealing with the causes of young people's lack of morality and angst.
Mog, the narrator, has a poetic streak that is at odds with the tale he tells. There are flashes of brightness amongst the gloom; "like the colour turned into a feeling".
The book has a sense of reality that is quite disturbing. Something about the real sounding names, nick-names and places makes the violence and destruction even more shocking. A challenging read but very deep and very worthwhile.