A struggling painter, a money laundering power couple, and a millionaire family that owns a news network walk onto a plane….
It sounds like this might be a joke but it’s actually closer to tragedy.
Here’s the breakdown. 11 individuals get on a plane to fly from Marthas Vineyard to Manhattan but 16 minutes in they find themselves crashing into the Atlantic. The only ones to survive are Scott Burroughs (struggling painter) and a boy named JJ (child to millionaire moguls). Not only do these two survive the crash but Scott finds a way to swim with the boy on his back to land without dying from hypothermia or a shark attack.
Neither of the two remembers what happened or the events that lead to the crash. Federal agencies, the private jet company, and the media go crazy for details but are left to come up with their own conclusions.
The remainder of the book follows these two characters through what becomes a complete media shit storm. Sprinkled between chapters are the stories of the individuals on the plane and what landed them on the private jet to begin with.
This novel dives deep (no pun intended) into our current media culture and how one person on screen can shape the opinions of millions. Specifically, one of the characters is known for starting ALC, a 24/7 news cycle with anchors who have strong opinions, little facts, and unethical actions. The author makes several comparisons to FOX News and Bill O’Reilly, which would have annoyed me but honestly it was what the teenagers call “on point.” I disliked one of my last books because the comparisons to our political climate were too much, but in this situation, I felt like it wasn’t the ENTIRE plot, more like a sub-plot.
Although this is a piece of fiction, it had me thinking about coincidences and fate. The relationship between the two survivors is beautiful and in the end, you could tell they were meant to meet and have a connection.
Compliments and Complaints (Spoiler Alert!)
Fucking toxic masculinity ruins the day AGAIN. (MFM reference to anyone not hip to the podcast.)
Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book. I think the author did a fantastic job pulling everything together and keeping me in suspense until the final pages. However, I was kind of hoping the ending wasn’t going to revolve around a lovers quarrel that ends badly. The copilot and stewardess are ex-lovers and when she turns him down he decides to take things into his own hands…. and fucking kill everyone on board. I mean that sounds like a reasonable reaction right? For goodness sake dude. Ever heard of the phrase “there are other fish in the sea”? (LOL get it? Fish? Sea? Because they crashed into the ocean..? I digress.)
When reading the copilot’s section and watching things unfold, I kept thinking “I really really hope that there aren’t men out there like that.” Unfortunately, after listening to enough My Favorite Murder, I know that some men get their egos bruised and just simply can’t handle it.
All in all, I’ll take Before The Fall for what it is… a good story.
Tell me what YOU thought of the book?
P.S. Fun fact: The author Noah Hawley is a writer on the FXX television series Fargo.