This review contains spoilers.
In the beginning I had a beautiful boy. In the middle he lost his mind. And now, at the end — is this the end? – Kamau took to the air on his own wings, and the wind did not hold him.
-Claudia Love Mair
Don’t You Fall Now was June’s book of the month. It’s a memoir about a mother with bipolar disorder whose son Kamau becomes psychotic and falls off a parking structure. It is filled with love. I carried the book around town in my bag as I read it and at times, it felt like I was carrying Mair’s beating heart. There was no holding back. It was so incredibly honest. She shared thoughts we’d all be afraid to admit, ones she felt were selfish or shallow, worrying about her sons looks or wondering if it was better for him to live or die at one point. Her sometimes blunt thoughts were juxtaposed by lyrical prose rife with metaphors about flying. Bird imagery was a theme throughout the entire book that tied the reader back to Kamau’s initial delusion that the birds were telling him he needed to be like them, “to be free.”
Don’t You Fall Now Book Review
5 out of 5 stars
Don’t You Fall Now Summary
We meet Mair in medias res. The police are at her door informing her that Kamau fell off a building. She unravels what led to this incident slowly, explaining Kamau’s strange behavior to the cops. Mair suspects he is experiencing mania and delusions about being able to read people’s minds and the like. We also learn that Mair has bipolar disorder and a family history of mental illness.
Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and addictions run in our family, knocking off aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings like a car careening out of control. The casualties ‘crazy’ leaves behind stretch across generations.
My life may have lurched to a halt, but my bills didn’t, and the kind one hundred-dollar gifts and twenties pressed into my palms have stopped coming. People move on, and we are left to deal with stuff on our own.
Snapshots of Recovery
One thing that surprised me was the depth of Mair’s honesty. The book is inspirational, but it’s not full of fluff. Its all real. Mair is not afraid to admit the truth, and because of this, we trust her. We empathize with her.
No one tells me I will grieve the loss of Kamau’s good looks. His lovely gap-toothed smile has crumbled. The front of his skull is in pieces… The awful truth is I will miss the son I had. The way he looked… Hours pass. The operating room sends text messages informing me that the surgery is going well. I update my Facebook friends, and wait, praying, and trying hard not to be an asshole about how Kamau is going to look when this is all over.
Recovery Is A Process
Not yet whole… healing.
Discussion questions have been posted on Facebook and Goodreads if you’d like to take a peek! You can learn more about Claudia Love Mair on her blog. If you’d like to sign up for the book club, you can do so here!
About The Author:
August Blair is the writer behind Writers With Mental Illness. She is a freelance writer working on her first book. You can find her writing online at Peculiars Magazine, Voices of Mental Health, Your Tango, All 4 Women, and in print anthologies. Connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.