Thoughts on Before the Fall

June 17, 2016 Book Review, reviews 7

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Thoughts on Before the FallBefore the Fall by Noah Hawley
Published by Grand Central Publishing on May 31st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 400
Source: complimentary review copy


Before the Fall has been packaged as the summer blockbuster and I can certainly see why. A private plane slips off the radar only 16 minutes into its flight between Martha’s Vineyard and New York. Eleven people are on board but only two survive: a painter, Scott Burroughs and JJ, the 4 year old son of David Bateman, creator of the number one 24-hour news station {pretty much patterned after Fox News}.

The story begins with the crash along with Scott’s miraculous survival and rescue of JJ. Told in alternate chapters we get a behind the scenes look at the lives of those who were on board the fatal crash. We also get to see the aftermath with the news media and various government agencies involved in the investigation. It’s both fascinating and terrifying. What the news media {especially David Bateman’s own company} does to Scott and anyone surrounding him is a testament to culture today. Even how the various government entities choose to handle the investigation is scary – most are compassionate and matter-of-fact but the few that are not….woe to those in the warpath.

This author is brilliant in portraying ‘real’ people. His characters are so involved and believable. The characters’  actions leading up to the plane crash go far beyond stereotypes. Part of the joy in reading Before the Fall was for that very reason – Noah Hawley created totally believable characters with a back story, emotional depth and unique traits.

There are two issues I had with the book that kept me from giving it a solid 5 stars. The first being when we are seeing Rachel’s ‘before the crash’ chapter. Rachel is the 10 year old daughter of David Bateman and Maggie. Precocious, brilliant and a sweetheart, but her chapter drifted more into her mom’s thoughts rather than Rachel’s. Perhaps I misread the chapter, but it just didn’t quite sit well with me.

The other issue was in the last few pages. Survivor Scott is giving an interview and some of the things he says doesn’t make sense to me. It’s impossible to be more specific without going into spoilers.

[Tweet “Believable characters + a look at society’s obsession with news makes this the summer book to read”]

After reading Before the Fall and seeing what a brilliant storyteller Noah Hawley is, I plan to read the rest of his previous novels. And maybe even turn the television on to watch some Fargo! Read it. Before the Fall is so worth the hype!

Before the Fall is a She Reads Summer Selection. To see what other members are saying visit She Reads here.

Many thanks to She Reads and Grand Central Publishing for providing a free copy to review. All opinions are my own.




7 Responses to “Thoughts on Before the Fall”

  1. Rhapsodyinbooks

    I thought the whole point of the last bit was to make us wonder what the heck. I’m sure it will stimulate a lot of discussions! Too bad it can only be among those who read it, because of spoileriness! :–)

  2. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I’m with you on this one…really enjoyed it, mostly because of the characters’ backstories. I liked gradually learning more about each one and the focus on what the media can do to a story. But, I didn’t give it that 5th star either b/c the ending fell a little flat for me. I was just expecting something more and it was quite believable to me. But, overall an enjoyable read for sure!

    And – Fargo is amazing…watch Season 1!
    Sarah’s Book Shelves recently posted…Read One, Skip One (Girls Edition): The Girls by Emma Cline and Girls on Fire by Robin WassermanMy Profile

  3. Debbie Stone

    I want to read this one too!! Ack! I need to take the summer off of work! Too many good books and not (never ever ) enough time.

  4. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I love authors who can write “real” characters. I think authors who include small details of their characters’ lives and also write believable dialogue/thoughts are the ones most likely to impress me in that way.
    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted…Review: First Comes LoveMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge