Elevate Difference


Fall is the second novel of Colin McAdam. Set in an exclusive Canadian boarding high school, it is the tale of Noel, who becomes obsessed with Julius and Fall, the most beautiful and most popular couple at school. He sees himself as becoming less of an outcast when he finds out that Julius is his new roommate. Then Fall disappears and this has a profound impact on the both of them.

As someone who shamelessly loves the scandalous lives of rich and irresponsible teenagers, I thought this novel would be a bit like a good and thought-provoking version of Gossip Girl. While the look into the lives in a private high school was interesting on some level, the confusing dialogue and narration, combined with a formulaic plot and a problematic female character, made this a primarily frustrating read for me. The novel involved a great deal of dialogue between the various characters, but it became hard to keep track of who was speaking. I am always open to new forms of dialogue, but it was very hard for me to get enveloped into a story that I did not feel was structured very well.

Much of the book switches between the perspective of Noel and Julius, and usually their thoughts involve Fall. Noel is one of the most unsympathetic characters I have ever encountered. He is obsessive and creepy, and I don’t even love to hate him. A quiet, smart, and selfish young man, he is convinced that there is a cosmic connection between him and Fall, if only she could notice him. I even sympathised more with Julius, who was a stock rich-athletic-handsome-cool-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold. Julius never really developed as a character, just as Noel remained one creepy teenager.

The character that irritated me the most was Fall. She was mainly spoken about and obsessed over, serving as the springboard of the fantasies of these two young men. She is merely a manic pixie dream girl in literary form. The only main female character in this novel exists in order to show the fantasies of two rich and irresponsible young boys. She is beautiful, mysterious, unattainable, and most importantly passive. It made me feel as though that was her most desirable characteristic. Throughout the entire novel, Fall is treated as an object, because the two boys are speaking about her. Maybe the intention is to show that she did represent a certain level of fantasy for them. But why do we need another character like this?

The combination of a problematic female character, not much suspense, and a main character that was so creepy it was boring, I found Fall to be a very disappointing read.

Written by: Sara Yasin, August 10th 2010
Tags: fiction