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The World I Fell Out Of

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  531 ratings  ·  57 reviews
On Good Friday, 2010 Melanie Reid fell from her horse, breaking her neck and fracturing her lower back. She was 52.

Paralysed from the top of her chest down, she was to spend almost a full year in hospital, determinedly working towards gaining as much movement in her limbs as possible, and learning to navigate her way through a world that had previously been invisible to he
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2019 by Fourth Estate
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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“My name, it would seem, is still Melanie and I am a doubly-incontinent tetraplegic.” I’ve been following Reid’s progress off and on through her London Times column ever since she was thrown from her horse on Good Friday 2010 and broke her neck. She spent a year in a Glasgow high-dependency hospital unit, a time she recreates in a lot of vivid and funny detail (almost everyone is anonymized in the book, so the nurses are nicknamed after plants and the fellow patients by character traits). There ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accidents happen, Melanie Reid fell off her horse. In ‘The world I fell out of’ she tells the story of her journey of recovery after the life changing horse-riding accident had left her paralysed from the chest down. From reading her story not only did I gain a little insight into the world of disability, which is so misunderstood by the people outside it, but have also been reminded how little it takes for your whole world to be turned upside down. The book sheds light on the many ways in which ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been enjoying reading this book for a few reasons. Most of this book is familiar to me and this has been comforting. Spinal injury is a very personal journey but there are similarities in every case. Here, Melanie is rehabilitated in the same unit I went to; saught even the smallest glimmer of hope from the same specialists; met every shade of the shadiest, sweetest and funniest of characters; the re-evaluation and upheaval of bodily-function, work, relationships and home. It's all in her ...more
I wonder if Melanie Reid would want to be described as inspiring? I doubt it. I suspect she might force a pained smile at such patronage, feeling like a child patted on the head for good behaviour. Her stated aim is not to be lauded as a hero – merely to be ordinary. To do those things able-bodied people take for granted while grumbling ungratefully, unthinkingly, about the minutiae of life. To walk, to dance, to escape from bores and farts at cocktail parties. It doesn’t sound much to ask, does ...more
rebeccca elane (pistachiobooks)
I read this on audio from my local library. This book deals with a lot of 'not-fun' topics but it talks about them in such an accessible way. The author talks a lot about coming to terms with being disabled and its at times both funny and intense. I really enjoyed the writing style, it made it a really easy listen. It almost felt like having a chat with an older relative because it was frank and had this easy aura about it. It was a really good non-fiction book and would recommend it to people l ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up to 5. This is a wonderfully written and absorbing book about Melanie Reid's riding accident in 2010 and how she rebuilt her mind and life. Harrowing, hilarious and poignant, this is easily one of the best memoir's I've read and highly recommended. ...more
Elsbeth Kwant
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is as much a book about the betrayal of the body, as about the power of the mind. We are very lucky to have someone who has - randomly unlucky - broken her neck and spine and became paralyzed, but who possesses such a power to give words to her experience. She describes tantalizingly the losses, physically and mentally, such as losing the ability to sleep as you like: 'The private geometry of your night, your ability to cuddle into shapes practised from childhood.' But also the mindnumbing ...more
Greville Waterman
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I am feeling down or sorry for myself I open up Melanie Reid's incredible Spinal Column in The Times.

In 2010 she suffered catastrophic injuries falling off her horse, broke her neck and is now a tetraplegic.

This book is her record of what happened on that terrible day and how she has coped with the vicissitudes of life and just as importantly how life has coped with her.

In places the book is terribly matter of fact when describing terrible things that happened to her and the many others
"The art of living well, I think, is to understand how swiftly you get old, and to learn to identify golden ages as quickly as possible. And the real secret is not to be always looking forward, plotting the fulfilment of tomorrow [...] Instead, to focus on what constitutes your life at the time and love what you already have."

I have had the pleasure of meeting Melanie Reid in person - in one of my university courses, she did a guest lecture about her experience of spinal cord injury, and the ram
Carolyn Lochhead
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve had a soft spot for Melanie Reid ever since, as a reporter on the Edinburgh Evening News, she sent me a lovely letter in response to a dreadful article I submitted, encouraging me to keep writing (and quite rightly not accepting my piece). So I was both interested and worried about reading this book - I knew it would be a fascinating read, but it is an account of something truly dreadful happening to someone I understand to be a good person. And Melanie Reid does not hold back on the detail ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

The World I fell out of tells the story of Melanie Reid’s journey of recovery after a horse riding accident left her paralysed from the chest down.

Although the subject matter is difficult to process at times the book itself was really easy to read. While reading this book I felt we really got to know Melanie Reid through this tough time of recovery, also hearing her narrate the audiobook herself made it even more personal.

It was a really interesting to read, and I really
June Louise
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a moving account of The Times journalist, Melanie Reid, and her rehabilitation following a horse-riding accident that left her paralysed (except for her right hand). Reid describes her inner monologue as she is initially admitted to hospital, the scary prospect of facing the rest of her life in a wheelchair, and the long and painful physiotherapy sessions she endured. Within the text, Reid has supplied black and white photographs which show images as diverse as her in action show-jumping ...more
Kirsty Mcdougall
An excellent memoir that is brutally honest about what happened, the emotional and raw reaction to it and how to carry on anyway.

This book is difficult to review as it doesn’t feel like a book. Instead it feels like an intimate conversation with the author that a star rating just cannot capture. I found parts of the book difficult particularly those set in the Glasgow hospital where I have spent time being treated for chronic illness. I think it adds a layer of connection to the story when a boo
Suzie Grogan
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Painfully honest account of finding a new way to live

Melanie Reid is a terrific writer and offers an account of her devastating riding accident and subsequent rebuild of both body and life that opens the reader’s eyes to more than disability. A stretched NHS, a society lacking an appreciation of the difficulties it presents and the privileges of able bodied ness, and the very particular nature of an athlete obsessed. I didn’t always like Melanie as I read this, and would have appreciated a great
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have always enjoyed reading Melanie's column in The Times magazine, so what an awful coincidence it was that in the same year we both had accidents (hers riding, mine sailing) that changed our lives for ever, though mine was in the ha'penny place compared to her becoming a wheelchair-bound tetraplegic. Her writing since then has continued to amuse me, console me, made me laugh and cry, and in this book she has been able to expand those weekly anecdotes into the story of the last nine years. Sh ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five stars isn't enough for this book. I would have read it in one sitting if I didn't have work to go to. I read it in bed every evening for a week and ended up bleary-eyed every morning because I just didn't want to put it down.
Exceptionally well-written, this is an honest and fascinating insight into a world that none of us want to join. If this book doesn't make most of us stop, look around and appreciate what we have then nothing will. I had read some of Melanie's columns in the Times but
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book will shake you to the core. Challenge your complacency. A powerful book giving a voice to the those forced to live in a parallel world of spinal injury. Life affirming. Darkly comic. Harrowing. Humbling. Hard to ignore the short falls of the systems of the NHS denying those with chronic conditions to continue to access support; Set against the astonishing stand out care given by (most of) the NHS staff. This book will make you appreciate every breath (or step if that accessible to you) ...more
Teresa Fahy
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An honest account of a life

As someone who suffered severe brain damage 40yrs ago & lived with the consequences of this ever since I read Melanie's story as if it was my own. On many occasions she has used exactly the same words I said during the initial stage of my recovery - 'who is going to love me now'. This is a story of courage, strength, humour & hope that occasionally briefly touches on disrepair. But the deep, deep depression & despair that Melanie didn't choose to dwell, but I know was
Jan 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Read for Bookclub Jan 2021.

The good thing about joining a book club is being exposed to books you would never usually read. I like romances with HEA or thrillers heavy on the relationships. So this book is really out of my comfort zone.

It was effortless to read, very well written. Just what you would expect from a professional columnist. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her ‘recovery’ from her horse-riding accident in 2010. And while it was harrowing at times, she covered so many insights I
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I listened to the audiobook version of this book.

I'd never heard of Melanie Reid before but she certainly comes across as a determined woman! The fact she falls from a horse not once but twice proves it!

She chronicles her life after the accident, but it isn't all doom and gloom, there's some dark humour too.

I found that her attempts at Glaswegian accents really grated on me, I'm not sure if it was meant to be tongue in cheek or not.

It makes you think of how suddenly your life can change and not
Fiona  Linday
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fabulously entertaining, gripping read. It unveils a real story of pain and bravery. The entire book was inspirational and levelling. A good book for finding perspective as we consider our challenges, the author is honest about a life-changing accident that could have easily removed Melanie's sense of humour for good. Luckily for the reader, her fight and wit remain stoic.
A highly recommended read for anyone seeking a strong, educated character to role model. The book made me laugh-ou
Fi Silk
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook of this, read by the author. I pretty much forced myself to listen to it as, like the author, I define myself and my life by doing physical things and I thought it would be good to force myself to face head-on the idea of that not being an option. It's a frank, funny story that doesn't hold back on details, read with warmth and compassion that has given me better insight into life in a wheelchair, as well as absolute certainty that I should not go to hospital in Glasg ...more
Sally Cooper
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
awe inspiring.

I couldn't put this book down. You have no idea what a person in a wheelchair is having to deal with on a daily basis. We should all thank our lucky stars for all that we have and the brilliance of our perfect bodies. Her writing is wonderful. Let's hope that science finds an answer to the horrors of a broken spine. SO impressive. I would have thrown in the towel. Not her. Brilliant. So worth buying and devouring.
Theres Lessing
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Heavy-going. Reid revisits her experience breaking her neck in a riding accident, being in hospital, improving, getting worse, what it's like being in a wheelchair, riding, etc. A touch on the long side. At the outset, she thinks, "I should write about this, it's so fascinating". But the book doesn't feel like she's fascinated - understandably, she's quite bored of e.g. not reaching things, needing assistance. The NHS comes out quite well. ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it. I appreciate the frankness of the author in describing the effects of her spinal injury but I (as someone who went through a similar experience) found it too morose. I've always focused on looking forwards, rather than reflecting on bad life impacting events from the past and of course this is what the book did. Writing about ones experiences is a constant reminder that I do not believe is healthy. ...more
Wendy Williams
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring and brutally honest account of a devastating accident and its ongoing aftermath. This is not an easy read, despite being well written, because it puts all of us in Melanie's wheelchair and goes a long way towards helping the able bodied understand the reality of spinal trauma and life with paralysis. Live well, care for your body and never take touch, feeling and muscle power for granted.
Lynn Attridge
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a physio I found this book an excellent insight into what my patients are experiencing. Whilst it’s an extremely harrowing read at times that points out to all of us how fragile life is, it was also laugh out loud funny at points and even had my saying “listen to this” to my husband and ready sections out loud. Wonderfully written and something I’ll be putting on my student reading lists in the future!
Rose Bridges
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. It made me laugh and it made me cry. Everyone should read it. There is no miracle ending but an instruction to appreciate what we have in life, no matter how small and insignificant things may seem. It is a true representation of the human spirit and it's ability to fight and survive. Melanie Reid I applaud you. ...more
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You can't say this is an enjoyable book - it felt more about devastating loss and difficulty than anything else. I read with a kind of morbid fascination but also with hope. Both factual (and very detailed) but full of philosophy too. Wry references to childhood books were very relevant especially the 'glad game' and Heidi. Glad I read this book. ...more
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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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