- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 4476 KB
- Print Length: 282 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0755ZZQTY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #298,897 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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What Goes Down: An emotional must-read of love, loss and second chances Kindle Edition
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When I first heard about What Goes Down, I was really interested in the premise as I knew that it dealt with mental health and often do search for books around this topic. What Goes Down did live up to this notion, being an honest and engaging look at mental health and family.
So I should probably get the negatives out the way first. At times, this book didn't engage me as much as I hoped it would but I feel like this was because it is an adult fiction novel and was about someone who was older than me so I couldn't really relate to there experiences. Saying that this was the only negative to the book that I often found.
The plot still did interest me and I was really excited to see where the story would go as we are literally dropped straight into the story from the first page and therefore need and want to find out what happened. There is also a big twist at the end of the book which I was also really shocked about and I just had to read it faster after that.
The narrative is also told in a past and present narrative juggling her mum's perspective in the 1980s as well as a present-day narrative. I really do think this worked in the story and developed Laurel, Seph's mum character much more as we really do understand why she does what she does throughout the novel. The development of a mother character is not something that is done often in YA so, therefore, I really liked seeing it in this book. Although, not one for the 1980s setting due to the overload of 80s nostalgia in pop culture this did not affect me when reading.
I also really enjoyed Seph as a character and the way that she interacted with her father after they met up and did find her to be quite interested and likeable although she had some bumpy times ahead in the book.
I also did like the honest way that this book dealt with mental health as it was dealt with in a careful way although I personally can not say if the portrayal of Bipolar it might be worth seeing if anyone who has the condition says when and if they read the book.
This may be slightly weird but I really like the dialogue in the book, it never felt forced and was quite natural which is always something nice to see when reading.
What Goes Down is an interesting and engaging novel that balances the past and present as well as family life to make a good, solid read.
The problem for me personally is that being plunged into a catastrophe is too hard and sudden, like being pushed into cold water. I can’t get my bearings, I haven’t orientated myself. We don’t see the characters at their best, for a start, when we meet them mid-crisis. I took an immediate dislike to Seph, who, understandably thrown off course by the news, came over as self-absorbed and whiney. She dealt with the situation in a way which seemed, to me, too immature for her 27 years. Laurel, her mother, didn’t deal with the state of affairs well either. Angst is so tricky to write well, there are few shades of light and dark and I felt the writing was a bit laboured and high pitched in the opening section of the book.
BUT, what emerged out of the book was so much more interesting, I am glad I stuck with it. Whether kicked off by the revelation, or whether they had been there all the time, Seph’s bipolar tendencies rise subtly and cleverly to the top. Her shock and anger morphs into a crippling depression which the writer renders with bleak and vivid realism. Emerging from that into a period of frantic work, her bursts of energy and determination cross the line into mania. By this time I was on Seph’s side, worried for her, but able to see why, from her viewpoint, the things she was doing were totally reasonable.
The story splits into two, alternating between Seph’s story and her mother’s, thirty years previously, another frequently used narrative technique which can work well, but wasn’t needed here. Laurel’s teenage self was really well done, the obsession of first love, the horror of discovering that the perfect boyfriend has deep and cruel flaws really rang true for me.
All in all I liked this book. I wish the writer had structured it differently, chronologically, starting at the beginning and working through to the end. I think the writing is good enough to carry it and the story certainly has the interest and resonance to sustain it. It would have given the characters a better chance to establish themselves in the reader’s minds and would have given the writer more scope to develop the bipolar angle, which is a really interesting and rarely tackled-topic. Patrick Gayle’s Notes from an Exhibition is the only other book I know which handles it.
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