This review appeared in nb74.
I really struggled to review this novel. I'm not a writer and I am found it difficult to find the words to express just how much I loved this book. A family, Mum, Dad and teenage Emma, struggling to deal with their lives after the death of eldest son Kit, five years ago. There is one other member of the family, second son Jamie, who is estranged from the rest of them and living in a drab flat in Sheffield, hundreds of miles away from his family and slowly descending into a world of his own. Young Emma has never really known just what happened on the night that Kit died and finds her comfort in eating and in Jesus, until one day the bullying and the unhappiness gets too much and she sets out to find Jamie.
The real beauty and genius of The View On The Way Down is in its simplicity, the ease of Rebecca Wait's writing captures the reader from page one and doesn't let go. However, don't be fooled by my talk of simplicity, this is a deeply moving and powerful story of a family that has been torn apart. Four people who have been changed by the same tragic circumstance, yet are dealing with it in four very separate ways.
Each character is drawn so beautifully from Kit's darkest depths of depressive illness, to Emma's child-like naivety and the parents, Rose and Joe, so distant from each other, yet unable to let each other go.
I could easily have read this novel in one setting, except for the fact that at times I was so moved, and so affected by the writing that I had to put it down, walk away and try to think of other things. It's been a very long time since a fictional story has resonated so strongly with me. Although this is at times almost unbearably heartbreaking, the strong feeling of brotherly love and loyalty that flows through also makes it an uplifting story.