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Things I Learned from Falling

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  752 ratings  ·  73 reviews
An inspirational and gripping first-person account of determination, adversity and survival against the odds.
Last year, Claire Nelson made international headlines. She was in her thirties and was beginning to burn out - her hectic London life of work and social activity and striving to do more and do better in the big city was frenetic and stressful. Although she was surr
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 6th 2020 by Aster
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  752 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Jenny Lawson
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I skipped over a bit of the pre-fall stuff because I was too worried to focus on anything other than her survival story, which was INSANE.
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read this book in the order it's written because by the end of "Day One: Tuesday" I couldn't resist the temptation to jump ahead to the Friday to read about how she got found. I mean, I obviously knew that she got found but I just wanted the reassurance of her being discovered. I then read to the end, and then jumped back in at Day Two: Wednesday and read it from there.

This is such a gripping read and I felt like there was a lot about Claire that made me think of myself, so I found it
Sian Lile-Pastore
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Man, this was tense!
This was such an inspiring story and i thought there were some really touching moments especially towards the end of her time where shes fallen and she feels like she is probably facing death. She is also really resourceful and brave and i loved her attitude and self awareness.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I cried, felt seen AND called out, and laughed along the way. Nelson, your courage, endurance, and self-reflection are phenomenal. I salute you. This was so warm and inspiring.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
As always this review also appears on my blog at:

Claire Nelson’s memoir is a classic scenario of escaping from a busy life that appears to have lost direction and undertaking a journey of self-discovery in the wilderness, interrupted by a life threatening accident that brings that journey into sharp focus. It is well written and mixes the jeopardy of being stranded in a desert facing a lonely and drawn out death with reflections on the unravelling of an outwa
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing

I have never survived a near death experience, yet so much of what is described and considered rings true, and will do for many. Part wilderness survival thriller, part introspective self-help for the current generation, this wonderful book has given me a lot to think about, and I feel better for it.
Grace Allison
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m particularly terrible at updating my reading progress here on Goodreads and very rarely will I even get around to simply sharing what I’m currently reading (I’m working on this, ok). But this book demands more from me.

Claire’s candour writing opened up the very depths of my self that I had suppressed for too long and highlighted the errors of my ways through the sharing of her experiences. This book isn’t just insightful, thrilling and funny — it’s also profoundly relatable. Reading her word
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found this story engrossing. There were many aspects to it and aside from the courage Claire displayed while she lay lost and injured and the trauma she suffered generally, I found the self reflection and the journey to her mental health recovery so thought provoking. I have the book on kindle too and may well actually read it as I find I often absorb more with actually reading a story.
my bookworm life
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review coming soon
Gerard Murphy
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent - well constructed by a natural storyteller with a unique tale to tell.
The author's growth in understanding herself in such adversity is clearly presented. A thought provoking and thoughtful memoir -- highly recommend
Lori Smith
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written story of four days of survival and the circumstances that led to it. Claire’s book is a masterclass in storytelling - tense and gripping (despite the fact that we clearly know the outcome), yet also warm and beautiful. A must read for anyone who has ever felt in any way lost.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If I had never been to Joshua Tree I'd probably never have considered this book. But I've been there and I've walked exactly the same trail... while Ms. Nelson was lying there in the desert. It feels really strange to think about that.
The book was amazing, I could definitely recommend it to every person in their 30s who is trying to figure out stuff. Cherish your people. The big question is of course how to put to use the lessons Ms. Nelson learned if you haven't fallen off a boulder in Joshua
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel torn leaving a review that wasn’t brilliant which is what others felt as I don’t think I’d survive what she had to. The thoughts she had day to day before the accident are what many people could relate to and it’s important to understand depression. However, the book felt too long, self-indulgent and that a lot of the content was there just to fill up space. A lot of the “lessons” could have been bullet points. I had to force myself to finish it.

Best bit: “I did not regret the person I w
Rachelle Du-Shane
Aug 11, 2020 rated it liked it
When I started reading this book I thought it was going to be entirely focused on her accident and rescue. Whilst it did tell that story there was a lot of focus on her life as a whole before the accident and her mental health journey. This did help set up understanding for the readers of her mental state during the accident, I just don't think it was what I was expecting and therefore didn't appreciate it as much as others might. ...more
Mardi Michels
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
So, I don’t *know* Claire Nelson but I have been following her on Instagram for years now. I followed her as she lived and worked in London and I wished her well as she turned her back on her London life and the burnout it resulted in, heading first to Canada but then ending up in Joshua Tree National Park where she was to house and catsit for friends for a couple of weeks. She’s excited to be out in the middle of nowhere with space to think and recharge and spend time in nature. Having visited ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Claire spent four days and three nights alone in the desert.

One day Claire decided to conquer the Lost Palms Oasis Trail in California after escaping her overloaded London life. Without realising she ventured miles off the trail, and ended up slipping off a boulder, shattering her pelvis along the way. Unable to move nor able able to contact anybody what followed was a life changing experience.

Even though I knew that Claire would survive, I still sat at the edge of my seat whilst reading the bo
Nick Rolston
Mar 23, 2021 rated it liked it
This book reads a lot like a novel, as the author is an exceptionally talented writer. I will be up front and say that it is a fast read but one that is more focused on story telling rather than on a profound transformation. In some sense, I found this to be refreshing because the author was honest about the fact that her near-death experience didn't magically cause her to realize all of her imperfections and live perfectly, but rather led to more introspection and a deep gratitude for life's si ...more
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the audio version of this book, as it added depth and reassurance. I knew that Claire would survive her time in the desert, but once immersed in the pacey writing I caught myself wanting to skip ahead to be sure it all works out. I also found that Claire’s voice reminded me of Jacinda Adern, capable, warm and funny.

This is more than an endurance tale. Claire is very articulate in describing how her personality and life choices led to her being in the desert, and it’s very relata
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Despite her dream job in her dream city, author Claire Nelson struggled with self-doubt and loneliness, which led her to seek out the calm clarity of nature through hiking. In Things I Learned from Falling, Nelson recounts the fateful day that she set out on a solo hike in Joshua Tree and ended up falling off a boulder, totally hidden, unable to move, and with no way to call for help.

Luckily, Nelson survived to tell her story with a renewed sense of strength, an acceptance of her own vulnerabili
Horluwaseun Adelana
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I got some beautiful quotes from this book and I will like to share them here.

''By the very nature of the curse, mistakes will be made. We will get lost. We will get lost- We will fall and it will hurt like hell''!!
''When you repress your emotions, you repress everything''
''You can be prepared for anything, you cannot be prepared for everything''
'' Invest in making long term plan for change rather than suddenly leaping out into the unknown''
''The thing about needs is that they can be ignored bu
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book gave me the absolute heebie-jeebies. It’s an inspirational story with a frankly terrifying accident at its heart, and it’s about Claire Nelson, a thirty-something-year-old who quit her job to find herself. That involved having an accident while hiking and lying in the desert for four whole days, not knowing if she’d be rescued or not.

Things I Learned from Falling really runs the whole gamut of emotions: terror, elation, joy and enlightenment. Claire is a likeable person and you’re real
Andy Midwinter
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
‘Things I learned From Falling’ tells of the inspirational true story of how a hike in the Californian Joshua Tree National Park turned into a 4-day fight for survival. Travel Writer Claire Nelson has produced a book that is part self help, part thriller; a well written, gripping, account of what happened over 4 days that she will never forget, wrapped into messages of hope, and survival.

I know you should never judge a book by it’s cover, but in this instance I was taken in by the cover as it s
Megan Witman
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This harrowing true story of Claire Nelson’s fall while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park is an incredible reminder to not take the small things in life for granted. I was on the edge of my seat reading Claire’s account of her life changing fall, crying, laughing and seeing bits of myself in her along the way. It was truly a blessing (in every sense) to be able to read the lessons she learned from coming toe to toe with her own mortality. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Claire’s ...more
Aimee Cridland
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"The kindness of people hit me like the weight of a truck, making me cry - really cry..."

Full blown cried.

Courage, strength, resilience, vulnerability and mental health struggle, all with a hefty dose of humour and relatability. Whilst somehow also showing the best of human kindness, and friendship, all in one true story.

Put simply, I think it's beautifully written.

I (obviously) sincerely hope Claire doesn't have to go through anything like that again, but I really hope she writes more memoirs (
Feb 25, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of memoirs out there of this ilk - brutal hardship, catastrophic accidents, survival stories, bravery, renewal and loss - and they are touching, amazing and worthwhile, but they are not all well written. One reads them for the value of the experience not the beauty of the writing.

This book is both - a cliffhanger of a survival story about, and by, an extremely loveable person, and a book beautifully written, The narrative kept me on edge even knowing that she obviously made it ou
Chantal Lyons
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read nearly all this book in one sitting. It's beautifully written, and well-balanced between the narrative of Claire's fall and ensuing days in the desert, versus the events and introspection that led up to her life-changing moment. It also dwells on her recovery, which continued to teach her how to live well. I am not a woo-woo spiritual person, and neither is Claire - there's nothing mawkish or silly about this book, though had a different writer gone through this, it might have been a very ...more
Joy R.
Feb 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: marc-books
A near death experience and a renewed vigor to live… With these two realities buttressing the beginning and the end, the author of this memoir shares about her life. Written and easy to read language, the story describes, with realistic detail, the circumstances and challenges of her harrowing hike in the Jacob Tree National Park.

Although this book was not a favorite read for me, the author does offer moments of lovely perspective about what is and isn’t important in life. If you desire inspirat
Kirra (thebooksofkirra)
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Notes from a dreamy traveler who is not afraid to own up to her mistakes and is very lucky to tell the tale. As the title of this memoir suggests, the author fell, in this case in the Joshua Tree National Park, and was stranded, injured and alone with no phone reception. The story reflects as a flashback of how she ended up there, her naivety and excitement to be alone with nature as well as building up her character to the reader so you understand not only who she is but her decision making as ...more
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing read, I don't know how I'm getting so lucky this year! This book is part memoir of the obvious, part allegory of life, and part window into the struggle we all face with mental health, to varying degrees, throughout a lifetime. I identified so strongly with the experiences of the author, I couldn't help seeing my own life playing out in hers. Brilliantly done. Unreservedly 5 stars. ...more
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Claire Nelson is a New Zealand writer who spent more than a decade in London working in food and travel journalism. Her work has appeared in titles including Westjet, Delicious, ELLE, Lodestars Anthology, and Jamie Oliver magazine. After recovering from her accident in California, she spent a year living in Vancouver, Canada, where she wrote Things I Learned From Falling. Claire, her boots and her ...more

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