Fall for Anything
When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?
Courtney Summers is one of those authors I come to for a really depressing read, and she really delivers in Fall for Anything. Eddie Reeves' has not been the same since her photographer father committed suicide. Of course, who would be with a loved parent dead and no idea why he would do such a thing? Fall for Anything is a girl's search for answers.
In the wake of her father's suicide, Eddie's mother has fallen apart, refusing to leave the house or take off her husband's housecoat. A nosy friend of the family, Beth, moves in to keep the family functioning the way she thinks they should be. Eddie does not approve. I really like how up front Eddie is about her distaste for this person coming and messing with their mourning. The moments when she complains about Beth or about her best friend Milo's girlfriend are when she feels most like a normal teenager.
Seth Reeves hardly left anything behind to explain why he killed himself. Until she knows why, Eddie doesn't know how to deal. To cope, she turns her focus to frustrating Beth and thinking about boys. She's looking for meaning, and if she can't find it in her father's action, maybe she can find it in Culler Evans, his only student. Eddie makes some really dumb choices with regards to romance, but they're so obviously a cry for help even she doesn't know she's making.
My favorite part is the mystery of why Seth jumped from the roof. Eddie and Culler find a box of photographs. From them, they discern clues as to his reason for exiting this world. Their search turns into a road trip and a bunch of life lessons. Those left behind when a loved one commits suicide will always wonder why, and feel culpable; this is why Eddie searches.
One of the most fascinating techniques Summers uses to highlight Eddie's discomfort is the coldness in her hands. Since his death, her hands have not been warm, even though it's the middle of summer. She has trouble using them and it's almost as though they've been damaged by the ordeal and cannot be fixed, in much the way Lady Macbeth couldn't get the damn spot out.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Unfortunately, I never personally connected with Eddie, and I viewed her solely from a distance. My heart didn't ache for her the way it did for Sloane in This Is Not a Test. Both are withdrawn, unhappy, messed up girls, but for some reason Sloane captured my heart and Eddie did not. I think part of my disconnection was how incredibly sad every aspect of this book is. I prefer a bit more humor, even really dark humor, mixed in to lighten the mood. That juxtaposition tends to make points more strongly, I find, than a book that stays consistently sad.
The Final Verdict:
Courtney Summers writes amazing books, though I do not think this one will be my favorite of the bunch. I do, however, plan to revisit this one later in life, because the themes of dealing with grief might be more meaningful for me then.
I started this book in the afternoon one day and literally could not put it down until I was done. I finished it late that night. I completely felt like I was Eddie. Ms. Summers truly brought her to life. I felt Eddie's pain and confusion the whole way through. I have never had to deal with a suicide, but my goodness I completely understood why Eddie might be feeling the way she did. I cannot give this book enough praise. Absolutely loved it!
This is a deeply emotional book. I highly recommend it if you are in the mood to cry, because you will. I want to read more of Courtney Summer's books now. :)
Agh, this book made my stomach hurt.
I’m dead right now.
First off, Courtney Summers can write. Really write. I knew this before, obviously, from the two other books of hers that I’d read. But when you couple that supremely powerful command of the English language with a breathtaking punch in the emotional gut, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. Ms Summers, my hat is off to you. It’s one thing to write poetically, and it’s one thing to write powerfully. This author’s mindblowing manner of combining the two made me weak at the knees.
So let’s see if I can organize myself a little bit here. Uh. Eddie’s dad committed suicide, and she and her mom are really screwed up now. Eddie’s mom’s nasty best friend moves in with them and is nasty. Eddie and her best friend, Milo, are going through a rough patch because she’s a mess and he doesn’t know how to help. Eddie’s dad’s “student” shows up and seduces Eddie with the idea that, through him, she’ll be able to understand her dad and the reasons for his suicide.
The thing with Eddie’s characterization is that you don’t realize how absolutely brilliant Summers was in creating her protagonist until right about the end. Warming up to Eddie is a slow burn. She’s alienated everyone around her, she’s emotionally dead, she’s bitter, she’s potentially suicidal. Not really the kind of girl you want to hang around with, and as far as flawed main characters go, Eddie wins all the awards. I’m going to be honest; I thought Eddie was boring for basically the entire first half of the novel. There was no emotional connection there (which, I realize now, was entirely the point). But then, bing bang boom, seductive student guy shows up and Eddie starts feeling everything, all the time, all at once.
Courtney Summers just turns it ON around page 120. The emotions, when they come, are almost too much to handle. I just sat there, reading Fall for Anything with a stomach ache like: “Words? What are words? I had them but now I don’t. No words.” I walked into this book unprepared, and the twists (there are a couple) compeltely blindsided me. I thought I was going to spend my Friday night reading a realistic fiction, not…THIS.
Like I said, Fall for Anything robbed me of my words. They’re gone, all gone. Courtney Summers punched me in the stomach, hung me out to dry, and then baked me sugar cookies after all the blood rushed to me head and I’d lost my marbles. This book is flawless. This book is everything that keeps my cynical, curmudgeonly self from throwing in the towel and going illiterate. This book killed me.
Ms Summers, I hereby bestow upon thee all of my feelings. Abuse them at will.