Review: Fall for Anything
When Eddie Reeves’ father commits suicide, Eddie is left desperately grasping at straws trying to find a reason for his death. The father she knew wouldn’t just jump off a building without explanation, but perhaps his suicide shows that she never really knew her father all that well. In the aftermath of his death, Eddie’s mother is emotionally unstable and reclusive, so her mother’s new-agey and controlling friend Beth moves in to help Eddie and her mom move on. Eddie grows increasingly frustrated by Beth’s demands, but finds little refuge in hanging out with her best friend Milo, who is often preoccupied by his ex-girlfriend who is visiting for the summer.
In seeking out a reason for her father’s death and an escape from her house, Eddie frequently rides her bike to the old building where her father used to love to take photographs, and where he ultimately took his own life. There, she meets Culler, her father’s former student, who is as haunted and confused by the suicide as Eddie. Together, Eddie and Culler go in search of clues and answers, forming a friendship and romantic relationship as they work side by side. But Eddie is too willing to find signs where there may not be any, too eager to wrap things up in neat little bows when that might not be possible.
Much to Eddie’s dismay, Courtney Summers realistically portrays the painful ambiguity that follows the loss of a loved one. Eddie is left asking why, why, why, but the fact is that her father will never be around to tell her. Summers doesn’t placate her main character or her readers by giving them a tidy resolution where there shouldn’t be one. Her depiction of loss and grief is authentic and moving. This book feels so sad and dark at times that I just wanted to give it a hug.
Fall for Anything is not a book to read if you are looking for fluff. There may be some romance, but Eddie’s story is not about Prince Charming or Happily Ever After. There are more rain clouds than rainbows here. That said, the writing and plotting are impeccable. The prose is tight and sharp, cutting at your heartstrings. The pacing and mystery escalate as the book moves toward its conclusion, and once you get a little ways in, it becomes difficult to put down. I read a great many books about death and mourning in 2010, but Fall for Anything captured the raw pain and emotion more than most.
Quotable Quotes from Fall for Anything
- “The chair is falling apart because he wore it down, got it to fit him perfectly. He refused to throw it out and now I’m trying hard to belong to the space he left behind, but I’m awkward and small and I don’t.”
- “Everything is complicated now but this is simple and true: he is missed. I want to go into the sympathy card business. I want all the cards to be like that. Forget sappy messages about overcoming; I want ones that say NOW YOU’LL BE A LESSER PERSON THAN YOU WERE or WE CANNOT POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND or I CAN UNDERSTAND BECAUSE SOMEONE I KNOW DIED TOO or maybe something about how grief can make your skin feel sore and bruised and electric because that’s how my skin has felt ever since, except for my hands.”
- “I stay in bed for a long time, staring at the ceiling, my mind blank. Empty. That sounds depressing, but it’s not. Sometimes you can think too much. I actually made myself sick the first three days after because I had thoughts bigger than the space that contained them and too many of them were happening at once. Sometimes the quiet is good, but just for now, in this time moment where the sun is edging up the sky, it’s okay.”