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Review: The Upside Of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane

on December 29, 2017

The Upside Of Falling Down
Rebekah Crane
2017, 252p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission.

They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost.

With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one.

Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget? 

I love love love amnesia books, they’re one of my favourite things. I also love books set in Ireland so this sounded absolutely amazing. The premise seems really interesting – I’m also an avid watcher of MayDay or Air Crash Investigations as it’s known here and I find plane crashes in terms of who survives and who doesn’t sometimes really fascinating. Clementine is the sole survivor of a plane crash near Shannon Airport in County Limerick and she wakes in hospital with no recollection of the plane crash or why she was even travelling to Ireland in the first place as she’s from Ohio. When her friendly nurse tells her that her father has arrived to see her, Clementine panics because she doesn’t want to hurt a man she can’t even remember with that fact and so she bails, convincing a stranger to take her away from the hospital.

And this is around the time I began to sort of struggle with this and considering that’s quite early in the story, I figured I was not going to love this. Clementine is a young woman in a vulnerable position, I get that. She’s supposed to be disoriented and terrified but she should’ve been seeking answers, not running from those who could provide them. Her reasons for leaving the hospital are pretty weak and the young man that takes her away, Keiran, probably has an even worse reason for doing what she requests are even worse. She’s the sole survivor of a plane crash, you’d think there’d be quite a lot of people wanting to speak to her, the NTSB first on the list but forget about that because the plane crash isn’t actually important and is rarely mentioned again and no one cares about why it crashed or anything else.

The romance would’ve had to have been pretty good to make me forget the practicalities of being the only survivor in a plane crash not that far from a major airport in a country that has a good aviation safety record and was carrying passengers from America, a country that has probably the best aviation investigation squad. Keiran is a reluctant rich kid, who finds that the perks of Daddy’s money don’t pay off when it means that you have to live your life as Daddy wishes. He’s staying in a country house with his sister and although he regularly disappears in the morning, he leaves Clementine (calling herself Jane, as she can’t identify with Clementine) money in order to purchase necessities as Clementine has spun some story about why she doesn’t have any belongings or money.

Holes, holes everywhere I’m afraid. Jane’s story is not remotely convincing and whilst I’m aware that everyone is a stranger to Clementine, running off from the hospital days after you survived a plane crash (with apparently no injuries other than the amnesia…) is really not the wisest decision to make. Also she didn’t want to hurt her father by not recognising him or not feeling any love for him or anything like that but she completely ignores what disappearing might do to her father, who almost lost his only child once. Surely actually having Clementine’s physical presence, even if mentally she is absent, would be much more comforting than having her vanish from the hospital with a potentially serious medical condition, no money, no knowledge of the country, nothing. I’m honestly not sure what Clementine hoped to accomplish from her flight. She says something about waiting ‘two weeks’ but this seemed some sort of ridiculously random attempt to pacify herself that what she’d done was okay.

I didn’t like Keiran much in the beginning and I’m afraid my dislike for him only grew as I got deeper into the story and more and more about him was revealed, which explains why he buys “Jane’s” dodgy story. He didn’t seem charming and although he seems oddly kind at first, I ended up feeling quite uncomfortable about his actions by the end of the book. They were really controlling, even though it’s wrapped up in his laid back, nice guy persona there’s no doubt that he knew exactly the sorts of things he was doing and it could’ve gone very, very wrong. In fact I think it’s poor writing that one part of what Keiran does is glossed over like it’s no big deal when it’s actually a huge deal. I was lukewarm on him before that but I really ended up disliking him. Actually I didn’t like Clementine that much either. The best characters were the minor characters of Clive and Keiran’s prickly sister Siobahn.

This had a promising premise but overall I just felt that the execution wasn’t up to what I was expecting. The romance wasn’t anywhere near enough for me – I never really felt a connection between Clementine and Keiran and I feel as though it will only be more problematic when Clementine properly recalls everything. Grief is not something that you can forget or skip, even if things didn’t turn out the way someone planned. I actually feel like a lot of this storyline made things so much worse for Clementine and others. I think I would’ve enjoyed this more if, she had to run away, that she did it on her own, without really needing Keiran around to provide for her and for her to cling to. He’s hiding a lot of secrets and I don’t think he was entirely acting out of kindness in the end. It may have developed into something like that but with all the info, looking back makes his appearance and actions seem a bit creepy.


Book #208 of 2017

One response to “Review: The Upside Of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane

  1. I really appreciated this review. I’ve been considering this book for a while. You raise some very good observations.

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