Have you ever started reading a book so dark and seedy you wished you hadn’t started, but by the end of the first page you were so invested in the story you couldn’t stop?
That was my experience with The Fall: An Autobiography of an Alter Ego.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sat down to read this ARC, but it wasn’t what I got. It was better. The author, simply known as Elle, expertly weaves a tale of personal destruction — both physical and emotional — and ultimate salvation. This story will rip and claw its way into your heart and mind, even though you don’t want it to. There is so much heartache, so much abuse, so many drugs. I wanted to hide and turn away from the reality of young Devon’s life, but I couldn’t. I had to find out if she was going to be okay. I had to find out if she was going to live. Her journey shocked and surprised me. It made me angry and made me weep. More importantly, in the end, it made me hope.
The Fall: An Autobiography of an Alter Ego follows the out of control life of a very vulnerable and lost fifteen-year-old girl by the name of Devon. From the back cover:
Devon believed she had found her soul mate in Wil at the tender age of fifteen, but instead of weaving a beautiful love story, she and Wil spun a web of lies, abuse, and manipulation. After the tides of violence turned with such force that her alter ego emerged as her only guardian, Devon’s downward spiral hurtled her towards a dangerous decision she now has only one day to change before someone’s life ends.
Inspired by a true story, The Fall is a cautionary tale that explores dependencies, disorders, and domestic abuse from the vantage point of a young girl who at times must separate from herself entirely in order to endure. Devon wanders from the deep South to the bright lights of Hollywood as she navigates her personal capacity – and desire – to survive a life that has become imminently threatened by her own bad decisions.
While the novel is dark and salacious at times, it is at its core a story of strength that can be a powerful and positive message to any young woman whose chosen path makes it difficult or painful to broach the question: “Who am I?
What did I love about this novel?
Everything, from Devon’s voice, to Elle’s style of writing, to the plot line itself. Devon and her entourage leapt off the pages. I heard them, saw them. I could smell their sweat and fear and taste the alcohol and drugs. Never once in this spiraling, out-of-control story did I ever feel I was reading a book. Not since The Fault in Our Stars have I read such a well-woven tapestry of words!
The plot line was well thought out and executed. The pacing was spot on. I was a hundred pages in before I knew it. I couldn’t put it down. Despite the novel’s depravity, the writing was so brilliantly executed, so smart, I was compelled to read on.
What didn’t I like?
The subject matter was depressing, sad. I kept looking for the joke, the laughter, the uplift, but it never came, at least not in hefty doses. The language was rough, and I was forced to remove the blinders and see a hidden truth that plagues too many young people in our society today. It also made me face some of my own age-old demons that swarmed unexpectedly out of what I thought was a well-barricaded, forgotten closet.
As I pondered my review, I wanted desperately to give this book 4 stars. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect novel, but The Fall: An Autobiography of an Alter Ego deserves nothing less than a solid 5 stars. The writing is that good. I am honored Elle provide me with an ARC to read before the official release on June 30, and I will most definitely keep my eyes open for any other books written by this author.
In closing, I urge you to head over to Goodreads and add The Fall: An Autobiography of an Alter Ego to your TBR list. Then scoot over to Elle’s website to see what she’s up to. There you can learn about a wonderful program in California called “Break the Cycle”. It’s an agency that provides comprehensive dating abuse prevention programs exclusively to young people.
Elle, thank you for writing such a provocative story. I bow to your awesomeness.