Alicia Elliott has written a poignant, razor-sharp take on motherhood, mental health, and Indigenous existence. This story sticks to your ribs like honey, seeping into your bones as you tear through its adrenaline filled pages. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. There are so many elements coming together in this story and Elliott handled them with expert storytelling, never once presenting something that felt contrived or out of place. An emotional slugger, it leaves you exhausted by the end, but the experience is so so worth it. I can't wait to see what Elliot does next.
I loved this book. I was confused and/or upset for 99% of it (the other 1% I was laughing because Alice brings the snark when she's not hallucinating/in the throes of postpartum madness/experiencing something horrific), but I couldn't put it down and never wanted it to end. This was wholly original, brutally honest, mind-bendingly weird, emotionally devastating, and utterly, epically brilliant. I cannot wait to read whatever Alicia Elliott writes next.
While this book hasn't been one of my favorite thrillers of the year, it did earn a spot right in the middle! I know our patrons at the library would LOVE this book!
A poignant look at motherhood and mental health struggles among indigenous women, Reading this opened by eyes to a perspective that I had overlooked in the past. An important, necessary book for all readers,
It's eye-opening, raw, sharp edged, and deep.
The Author projects a very strong voice concerning some difficult topics of racism towards the Indigenous people but layered towards so very much more at the core.
Thought provoking and real with a story also centered around a woman's struggle with post pregnancy depression/ psychosis.
This is the first book ever that while reading, I actually had a jump scare. I do not think that has ever happened with a book before. I literally gasped!
It's very well done. There's so much I could say, but I don't want to spoil anything but definitely put this on your to read list.
Elliot's voice is completely unique and fascinating. Her memoir was one of my favorite books of the year when it came out, so I couldn't wait to read her fiction. I got lost in a few places, but I think that was because I was listening to audio. I think this one would be perfect for a book club to discuss because there is so much depth.
This is one book that you truly have to read right to the very end. In this story, there are elements of almost every genre or situation. We have time travel, magic, history, unforgivable bigotry, racial genocide, and the destruction of an ancient way of life. The story revolves around Alice who is a Mohawk native living away from the rez in Canada. She has just given birth to a child and she is feeling isolated and is suffering from imposter syndrome. Her postpartum depression and the everyday microaggressions she faces in an unfamiliar city are starting to mentally wear on her. What happens next you will just have to read for yourself! Filled with Native legend and lore this is a brilliant and original work. If you are interested in reading more indigenous authors, love domestic fiction with a hint of horror, or just want to read something truly original and unforgettable then, And Then She Fell is for you!
Thanks again to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #NetGalley #Penguin
To be totally honest, I nearly DNF'd this more than once in the time it took me to read. But once I hit about 64%, I decided to see it all the way through.
While I was interested in the themes that Alicia Elliott was exploring in the first half of the book, I found the back half to fully descend into madness (which, I understand is part of the plot), but was largely difficult to follow and understand.
I don't think I'm unable to explore dense material, but it just came across like there were so many interesting ideas here, and just one or two couldn't be decided upon - so it had to be all of them.
The end in particular, while I found it to be sweet, felt wholly out of place in comparison to the rest of the novel.
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amazing writing and propulsive plot. The author does such a good job of exploring how indigenous peoples have been incorrectly and offensively depicted in movies like the Pocahontas that unknowing children at the time had no idea was in no way historically accurate. It's rough to read at time, but so well written the way the author writes about the main character's postpartum depression and how women are not always understood when dealing with it.
Well, I simply loved this one! I thought the portrayal of mental illness combined with post partum depression was fascinating. The Indigenous history is incredibly dark and how it manifested was skillfully imagined and portrayed. I do think the narrative got a bit more far-fetched towards the end but I still absolutely loved this!
Thank you so much to Dutton for the ARC.
Elliott takes the terror of motherhood, womanhood, and indigenous experiences and brings them to life on the page. She effortlessly combines psychological terrors with dark humor, to bring readers a genre breaking, must read. Alice is an absolute masterpiece of a main character and the mind twisting, heart busting, experiences she endures throughout make her all the more real. Not many authors can portray so well the daily horrors of the mind that so very many women go through. This is a must read!
This is a book you need to see through from start to finish. It was full of hard topics: genocide, racism of all types, generational trauma, mental illness, and much more. This was so well written and needs to be read. I liked reading about a Haudenosaunee Creation Story and how our Mohawk MC made it her own throughout the novel as she wrote it.
I will be ordering a copy asap for my library because my patrons need to read this, and more books by Indigenous authors.
AND THEN SHE FELL
How long do I have to wait for another book by Elliott? It’s the only question I had after reading AND THEN SHE FELL.
In AND THEN SHE FELL we meet up with Alice. Alice is a young mother struggling with her identity as a new mom, as a wife, and as an author. She’s grieving the loss of her mother, whom she feels left a vacuous hole nothing and no one else can fill. At times she wishes she could just have a break until that’s exactly what happens.
When the writing is good, and the sentence is on pace I can get in a vibe that feels like all is right with the world. I had that experience reading AND THEN SHE FELL. One word encouraged the following, every sentence lured me to the next, each paragraph building into chapters that I couldn’t devour fast enough.
I came here to discuss mental health and motherhood and suddenly, we were having an unexpected conversation about things often left unsaid. We were talking about who is represented in the stories we tell, who is missing and why.
I didn’t expect this from a horror book. And now I want nothing less.
I’m so glad to have read AND THEN SHE FELL and recommend you pick it up the next time you decide to pick up a book. It was such a great seasonal choice. I can’t wait to read what Elliott writes next.
Thank you to Netgalley, and PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, Dutton for the advanced copy! It was a pleasure to read and provide feedback.
AND THEN SHE FELL...⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I have provided a review, but accidentally got two different editions, so here is my original review as it appears on GoodReads:
Hmmm. I remember thinking A Mind Spread Out on the Ground was beautiful, so I was excited to get this ARC from NetGalley. I didn't love this book, but I was challenged by it which I appreciate. I enjoyed the search for wisdom and the cheeky re-telling of Sky Woman, but I really struggled as the main character seemed to lose reality.
It takes a lot for an author to genuinely be able to make me cry during a read and this book did it. Just something about Alice's story and journey did something! Kudos!
This novel left me feeling that it was deeply important to Alicia Elliott to write in exactly the way she wrote it. The novel both gave witness to truths about living as an indigenous woman of Mohawk heritage and simultaneously let me know these truths weren’t for me to fully understand. I’m like the guest at the dinner table who in one scene wants to have everyone agree with his linear logical view of history, even as the scene itself is written to contradict his view, becoming ever more incoherent and monstrous and illogical.
The story braided around a core idea of the ‘self’ that was telling this story but who remained a mystery for me. I wasn’t upset by this. I thought it was a beautiful expression of an indigenous lovely self trying to navigate heritage and family and womanhood and motherhood while living in, and being influenced by, and being suffocated by a dominant, white, male, genocidal culture, which made her every attempt to locate her true self a hideous trip through a funhouse full of mirrors that warped her sense of self. It gave me thoughts.
- AND THEN SHE FELL is what I might categorize as literary horror. Elliott blends a variety of types of horror - of motherhood, of racism, of literal monsters and voices in your head - into an incredible tapestry of a book.
- Much of this book is built on the tension of Alice (and the reader) trying to sort out if the things she's experiencing are real, or if she's losing her mind. But something happens in the last few chapters that takes everything to a whole new level. I was reading with my mouth open, not wanting it to end.
- The more I think on this book, the more layers I find in it. I hope you'll seek it out, even if you aren't typically a horror reader.
A dark and passionate tale of an indigenous woman facing what seems to be postpartum psychosis and facing racist stereotypes. It is well written and really has the reader facing is this all in her mind or really happening at times. I thought at the beginning it might be five stars for me but it lost me at the end a little. But if you’re craving wild and very unpredictable ending, this may be the one. A great debut novel and I look forward to reading what is next by this author.
An incredible debut novel that tackles tough topics from motherhood, intergenerational trauma, authorship, mental health, interracial relationships and so much more! I was a huge fan of Alicia Elliott before and I'm even more so now. She is incredibly talented and an author that is one to watch. I expect that this book will be nominated for many awards. Good on audio too, I loved everything about this book!! Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!!
I absolutely loved this intense look at postpartum depression/psychosis and racism. Big Get Out vibes. The racism and gaslighting the Indigenous protagonist faces is enough to drive anyone mad, but on top of that she is isolated in a white community married to her white academic husband. He's able to cash in on his wife's background to help his case for tenure while she's marooned with their newborn and no support system to speak of. The book is gripping from the start, but the ending turns it all up a notch and ends the story on a gorgeous note. Strongly recommend!