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The World I Fell Out Of

Narrated by: Melanie Reid, Andrew Marr
Length: 12 hrs and 58 mins
4.9 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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Summary

From the award-winning writer of The Times Magazine's 'Spinal Column': a deeply moving and often darkly funny memoir about disaster and triumph.

With an introduction by Andrew Marr.

Is this what it feels like, I thought, losing everything? 

Steel shutters were clanging down in my head: I dared not even think about my son, just emerging from his teenage years, or of my sorry future.

But I could safely bear witness and carry on writing in my head. A correspondent from a hidden war.

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 her.

As a journalist Melanie had always turned to words, and now, on a spinal ward peopled by an extraordinary array of individuals who were similarly at sea, she decided that writing would be her lifeline. The World I Fell Out Of is an account of that year and of the years that followed. It is the untold ‘back story’ behind Melanie’s award-winning ‘Spinal Column’ in The Times Magazine and a testament to ‘the art of getting on with it’.

Unflinchingly honest and beautifully observed, this is a memoir about the joy - and the risks - of riding horses, the complicated nature of heroism, the bonds of family and the comfort of strangers. Above all, The World I Fell Out Of is a reminder that at any moment the life we know can be turned upside down - and a plea to start appreciating what we have while we have it.

©2019 Melanie Reid and Andrew Marr (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"Reading this will change you." (Andrew Marr)

What listeners say about The World I Fell Out Of

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Of the earth-earthy!

Absolutely true to life! Something to make every listener reflect and reconsider in ones own experience I thoroughly enjoyed it and one does not have to be involved with horses to enjoy it.I have recommended it to many people young and old, because it is about real life and how we deal with what it throws at us, helping us to remember that we all need to dig deep inside our own selves

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Absolutely inspiringly brilliant

I have MS and although my condition doesn’t touch what Melanie has been through there are so many parallels. It’s funny and clever, classic book references make this book appealing to all. The life experiences of those she’s met and her own... The Golden Age being NOW and living in the now. Thank you whole heartedly...40 is knocking on the door. Who knows what awaits but I am determined to enjoy each day for what it is.

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Moving & very interesting

An account of a life changed in a split second, very interesting, moving and I am full of admiration for the author. When you listen to an account of a life changing accident & the life that has developed after it gives insight into a world that you cannot imagine. Melanie is an inspirational woman, I wish her everything she could wish for herself .

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  • DR
  • 15-01-20

Brilliant, from a wise woman

I so appreciated listening to Melanie Reid tell her story, although the book is beautifully crafted and would be a great read also. It is plain honest. I liked how she considered so many aspects of what happened to her - philosophy, medicine, psychology, sociology of the NHS. There is a great deal of wisdom here too, and I thank her for that.

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The Great Leveller

Listening to this has had a most profound effect on me as it must on anyone who listens to Melanie's story of nine years as a tetraplegic following her riding accident in 2010. It isn't really the world she fell out of so much as the world she fell into: what she calls the parallel world into which she has been cast. People who have been similarly injured themselves, or people whose loved one has been similarly injured will respond differently from those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to walk. For me, and I can't be alone, I never realised the full extent of such a catastrophe. I never realised that paralysed people suffer such a multitude of terrible ailments from potentially fatal sores, bowel disorders, infections, adverse reactions to drugs, as well as suffering physical pain & distorting spasms. I could imagine the desperate indignities and frustrations, but not in this blistering detail. As well as describing the agonising physical suffering of being paralysed, from bodily functions to the loss of a million simple things like feeling her face or hugging, Melanie is brilliant at conveying the mental processes. She calls her injury in a searing phrase, 'a compound fracture of the soul' and she describes her road to where she is now with definite small improvements in comparison with her initial condition with a chastening honesty almost too distressing to listen to. She's totally honest about her visceral, gut-wrenching sobbing, her terrible sense of loss as she looks at her 'stone banana fingers' and the 'conjoined twin' of her alien paralysed body attached to her. Yet Melanie is positive and has come to value the life she has. She knows that she is lucky - however unlikely that seems - but she has a loving husband and son (and dog), many who love and admire her, and the tremendous writing skill so evident here and in her Spinal Column in the Saturday Times, which has enabled her to salvage some sense of her old self. She is obviously a strong, vibrant woman and she has not lost her sense of humour - you can hear a catch of smiling in her excellent reading. What this book does is open your eyes and your heart to all that Melanie has been through, and what so many other damaged people have experienced, including those who have no-one and no skills. The other great inspiring people to come out of the book are the NHS nurses - poor slighted scrapped-for-cash NHS which does deliver monumentally compassionate and dedicated care through underpaid nurses managing their own difficult lives at the same time. One of the most shocking, almost too dreadful to hear scenes is in the hospital ward where dementia patients with severe injuries are brought in and the ward rings with their raving foul-mouthed abuse and the greatest physical violence against the nurses of which they are capable.. I loved the section about her childhood when her obsession with horses and everything about them began - how at eight years old her one desire was to BE a horse and she'd rein her sister and gallop her around. The whole book - and her post-accident life - is a superb, chastening and inspiring accomplishment ..

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Humbling

Horses are wonderful but this makes you think really enjoyed this book brave lady to share her story

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Amazing lady, puts life into perspective.

I am a nurse and have suffered chronic pain since an accident at 21 years old. This book made me think about, well everything. But especially how lucky I am to be mobile and still able to have a good dance, even if I do pay for it in pain in the following days. I could have broken my neck when I fell out of that loft, but I didn't. I am a urology nurse, believe it or not never heard of d-mannose, I have a patient in mind to recommend it to. Thanks Melanie!

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Unmissable

One of the most powerful and beautifully written books I have ever read. I could not recommned it more. Thank you Melanie for being brave enough to write it.

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Twice listened to

Just awesome and inspiring for this able bodied person. The fact that it is Melanie herself telling her story gave it huge impact for me. Once wasn’t enough, it is so engaging, listen to it.

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I laughed and I cried - often at the same time

I can’t recommend this book more highly. Having the author read it herself added so much. Thank you to everyone involved.