This audiobook will open your eyes and break your heart.
It is the story of Emma’s two brothers: the one who died five years ago, Kit, and Jamie, who left home on the day of the funeral and has not returned since. It is the story of their parents, who have been keeping the truth from Emma and from each other. The past is not discussed or acknowledged, until a chance encounter brings devastating secrets to the surface and once again the family must face a crisis which may ultimately save them.
The View on the Way Down captures the insidious, sometimes violent, force of depression and its ability to tip lives into chaos. Gripping, moving, and ultimately hopeful, The View on the Way Down will have you rooting for the family’s redemption.
Rebecca Wait graduated from Oxford University in 2010 with a first class degree in English, having been mentored by the poet and novelist Craig Raine at New College. She’s been writing since she was a child and has won numerous prizes for short stories and plays. Rebecca wrote The View on the Way Down in the evenings whilst working as a teaching assistant the year after graduating. In March 2013, Rebecca thrashed the competition to triumph as a Literary Death Match champion.
©2013 Rebecca Wait (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"The View on the Way Down is a novel that deserves to win awards as well as a huge readership. It’s a wise, honest, wonderful read that marks Rebecca Wait not just as a writer to watch out for, but one to appreciate now." (Daniel Clay, author of Broken)
"The View on the Way Down is deeply moving – yet unsentimental – and profound, and has a family secret at the heart of it that will remain with you for a long time after you finish reading. It is a novel that needed to be written and which will touch many people . . . a fine achievement." (Mark Gartside, author of What Will Survive)
"The View on the Way Down is written with great sympathy and an aching tenderness. Rebecca Wait’s evocative storytelling is alive to the tragedies and miracles of everyday life, illuminating the grey area between protecting and deceiving the ones we love." (Laura Harrington, author of Alice Bliss)
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
This is a book that packs a lot of emotional punch in less than 8 hours - truly poignant and yet avoids being maudlin or manipulative. I am in awe of the ability of this young author to so clearly convey the feeling of deep depression from the POV of the sufferer while at the same time so skillfully demonstrating the devastating impact this affliction has on anyone who loves someone in the throes of depression. But that's not all - this very insightful view of depression and its painful rippling affects is presented in a beautifully written book that is NOT depressing. It is definitely moving, sometimes quite sad, but there is humor and ultimately a kind of genuine hopefulness that runs through the novel that makes it a book that's good and good for you.
When we meet Emma and her family, it is 5 years after the death of Emma's oldest brother Kit. 14-year-old Emma and her mother and father live under one roof, but barely function as a family; middle brother Jamie is completely estranged from the family. The plot line becomes not so much what happens from there, but how these characters deal with what has already happened and whether they can find a way to move forward together.
The novel is primarily relayed in 3rd person and rotates POV among the primary characters with one epistolary section - Jamie's letters to his father. As the point of view shifts, Wait unobtrusively builds empathy for each character in turn and you realize as you meet each of these people that what looked like unattractive character flaws in each person (overeating, shyness, isolationism, anger, panic, denial, OCD, etc.) when viewed from the outside were, in fact, coping mechanisms of the walking wounded. None of these emotional crutches truly worked toward healing, but they did allow each person to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And when the coping mechanisms begin to fail, the family faces a second crisis which ultimately brings them to the climax of the novel. These characters are brilliant. I not only recognized this people, I've been these people.
Fortunately this lovely book was afforded some lovely narrators; this is a good audio production.
The View on the Way Down is about the different ways grief and loss affect the lives of the family left behind. The publishers summary makes it clear that one of teenage Emma's brothers has died and part 1 is told from her point of view. Bullied at school, disillusioned with God and becoming ever more miserable at home, she turns to food for comfort. Emma's parents response to the tragedy is to retreat into their own misery barely acknowledging each other or Emma. They are all estranged from the surviving brother.
Put this way, the story sounds simplistic. But don't be fooled by the simple almost gentle way the story unfolds. This book is powerful. It is well researched beautifully written and expertly narrated. I highly recommend this truly amazing story from first time author 25 year old Rebecca Wait. She apparently wrote The View on the Way Down in the evening while working as a teachers assistant. I eagerly await her next novel.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
The View On The Way Down is a solid 3.5 stars, rounded up because Rebecca Wait was able to make me begin to understand depression and its many repercussions. The opening scene of a happy family enjoying a day at the beach shifts abruptly to what has become of that same fractured family five years after the suicide of older son Kit. Younger son Jamie was estranged from the family on the day of Kit's funeral; Emma, the youngest child, is left not knowing exactly what happened, but trying to cope with the losses of her brothers through Jesus and food, and parents Rose and Joe are understandably just barely hanging on. Jamie's ex-girlfriend has a chance meeting with him, and this encounter sets in motion the events that may begin to help these utterly broken people become less so.
I haven't had any personal experience with depression, so I know I don't fully understand it. I appreciate it is far beyond sadness, and I certainly recognize that "Don't worry, be happy" won't work with clinical depression, but through her character portrayals, Wait was able to give me at least an introduction to understanding the depths of depression, and how suicide could possibly become more attractive than living. The middle of the book details the back story through letters from Jamie to his father. These may not be entirely realistic, but they do provide necessary detail in a poignant way. I found Emma a bit too childlike in some instances, but she is forced to bear the brunt of absent brothers and uncommunicative, shattered parents, so immaturity may be the result of her circumstances. It's a bit ironic that many family members don't want to talk about things to avoid causing more pain for themselves or others, but by refusing to face the situation that is exactly what has happened. The ending is appropriate, especially for a book that deals with difficult subjects and can be uncomfortable to read at times. I love that Wait never resorts to platitudes or becomes maudlin in The View On The Way Down. This is a book that will make you think - about depression, loss, sibling relationships, and families.
I wish all debut novels were this good.
This family are broken by the severe depression of their eldest son & the consequences. I felt their pain. None of them are making great decisions & all of them are suffering.
The story was great all the way through - until the end. I wasn't sure the ending felt realistic given the rest of the story, however it didn't spoil the book for me.
The View on the way down is about depression and suicide. And more than that it is the effects of depression and suicide on a family. For subject matter that some would consider taboo, it read to me as a very everyday story. Which is as it should be because depression and suicide are all around us. There is nothing sensational or melodramatic in this book. This is a regular family dealing with that “permanent solution to a temporary problem”. I think Rebecca Wait got the pitch just right. She knows her subject matter, but doesn’t showboat it. She doesn’t dwell on the details of the illness, but instead shows us the devastating results to all that surround it.
I noticed an interesting trait that all the characters had. At various points in the book the all had to mentally force themselves to say or do something that they weren’t comfortable doing. This was written as if it is something that we all have to do every day. Which made me think this was an everyday occurrence for Rebecca Wait, and that she was no stranger to mental health. Though I think the whole book is testament to that. You just could not write a book like this through research alone.
The plot is kept interesting by flicking between various characters perspectives; sister, brother, girlfriend, father, mother. It becomes subtly compelling to find out what will become of each of them.
On a lighter note, whenever I saw this book cover, I wondered why on earth did they have an upside-down flying witch on the cover? It was only when I saw a bigger version that I realized it was a girl on a swing.
Five star audio books come along so infrequently that I felt I needed to review this one. This story is so compelling that I have been unable to walk away, listening to it in less than 24 hours.
To simplify it is to say that it is about depression, tragedy, bullying and one family's inability to communicate – which makes it all sound very bleak. But among the tragedy it is chock full of hope, with beautiful observations of human nature as we bump and jostle one another whilst trying to make meaningful connections, fail and still go on to try again.
It is sad, and it did make me cry as I listened. It doesn't pretend to give any easy answers to the individual personal tragedies of the protagonists, but, in the end, it does offer a quiet form of unity between them and a way forward for them all.
Like many of my listens I was introduced to this by an interview with the author on 'Woman's Hour'. I found the author rather inspiring and was keen to listen to this, her debut novel. It is a brilliant debut and well worth a listen. Her portrayal of a family in crisis and how the past tragedy has affected them all is excellent. It is well written in a simplistic but compelling style and is moving, heartbreaking and real. It is a book that will stay with you long after listening.
"Depressing and poorly read"
I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer who took these two narrators to task - I also wondered if I would enjoy the book if I'd read it rather than listened to it. Craig Prekopp was especially bad - missing the 't' off words, and his accent sounded contrived and deliberately dumbed down to me - both narrators totally unconvincing so I don't know where these reviews full of praise are coming from - their friends I suspect.
"Poetic and painful"
Not an easy or enjoyable listen, but compelling nevertheless.
It's in a class of its own.
I didn't like any of them as people, but they were well portrayed.
Bring a hanky.
A visceral edge runs throughout this book. A family is pulled apart by grief in the aftermath of a suicide. It's a powerful dissection of depression; an insight into the world as seen by the one suffering the condition and the effect on close family.
The world portrayed in this compelling study is narrow, introspective and rather bleak. Although drawn into the story, it was difficult to empathise with the any of the characters. Two of the three siblings gave voice to events. Each parent added a few strands to the story. I found them all selfish and repressed, but despite that, there's enormous strength in a narrative which keeps the reader engaged. At times I found it almost unbearably dismal and hopeless. The pain was unremitting in parts. But time and again I was drawn back into the narrative which despite being bleak was totally compelling.
It's not uplifting but it's incredibly well written and there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.
"A book full of emotion."
I haven't listened to any books from Audible for quite a while, but I randomly selected this one and was impressed by how well it came across, expertly read by Mandy Weston and Carl Prekopp. It was mainly narrated by Ms Weston, but Carl Prekopp read the letters with the voice of Jamie, and that worked really well.
Rose and Joe have three children, Jamie and Kit, are teenagers, and Emma is their much younger sister. Emma is having problems in school and has found her niche as a member of the Christian Union. She is overweight and suffering from insecurities which alienate her from the other students. Food has become her crutch in a family where her eldest brother has died, her younger brother left home after an argument on the day of the funeral and no-one will talk about any of it.
As the story unravels, we gradually learn the background: how Kit came to die, where Jamie is and why silence is so rigidly maintained.
The young author has beautifully captured the cruelty of depression and the devastation it can wreak on a family. She writes with feeling about grief and its consequences, and the result is a book that could provide an excellent starting point for discussion on such topics.
Definitely an author to look out for.
"Compelling and thought-provoking"
I was compelled to keep listening to this book. The narrators breathe life into the perfectly drawn characters. This is a truly impressive novel tackling difficult themes in an accessible form.
"Will advise my friends not to read this"
I found this story full of unremitting, unrelieved gloom. A dreadful family situation, getting gradually worse and certainly not to be recommended to anyone who has any tragedy in their lives, especially the loss of a child. I did listen to the end, but felt pretty depressed afterwards. The story rolled along quite enticingly and was an easy listen from that point of view. I think I must have been waiting for the chink of light, which I suppose could have been said to come eventually, but it still wasn't much of one, and I was certainly left with a feeling of doom and gloom. I did wonder how autobiographical it may be? Perhaps real life is like this, but I don't really think so. Books such as The Fault in Our Stars and The Husband's Secret feel so much more real, with not only the darkness but the chinks of light that typifies human and family life.
Not if it is all about suicide. Would listen to a book narrated by these narrators.
A novel with a good story line, maybe a romance next time.
I didn't enjoy the book at all so this question is not applicable.
A more descriptive preview to warn that the book can be depressing.
Up in the top 10
It's reality. And the portrayal of the dysfunctional family.
Made it very easy to picture the interiors, I felt I was in the bookshop, the house, the bedroom. Carl Prekopp's reading moved me to tears at one point, it was beautifully delivered.
Have more substance to the book, more of a story line
The mood of this book is very dark. I kept listening to hopefully get to an interesting part, but it never came.
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