I loved this gutsy memoir by the award-winning writer of the long-running Spinal Column in the Times Weekend magazine, who was paralysed from the top of her chest downwards when she fell from her horse in 2010 at the age of 52. In a first book that is shot through with humour as well as pathos, Reid relates the unflinching "back story" of the year she spent in hospital, working with incredible determination to regain as much movement in her limbs as possible, and learning to navigate the frightening new world she had fallen into. Foreword by Andrew Marr.
This book is an account of the journey her life takes through rehab and returning home. It is searingly honest and frank. No covering up the distasteful parts. She tells you about her pain, her anger, her desperate efforts to recover movement. She tells you about her weeing and pooing and her sex life. She tells you about her overwhelming desire to walk and ride again and how it drove her to the brink of a mental breakdown. It is a very personal tale that makes you laugh and cry... Melanie's story is a captivating account of someone trying to change what she thinks she can, and her increasing acceptance of the limits to that change. She sums this up with a quote from Winston Churchill: “Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted it must be changed. If it cannot be changed then it must be accepted.”
The account of the year she spent in the Spinal Unit is gripping, even for the most squeamish who can’t bear even the thought of operations and medical procedures. It is full of what the papers call “human interest stories.” There is pain, frustration, and also humour; brilliant portraits of staff and fellow-patients. One is astonished by the work done and by the resilience of so many of the sufferers. Reading of life there puts one’s own problems in perspective. Reid learns the necessity of taking short views... [Reid's book] is horrifying, certainly, frightening in as much as it shows how we are all skating, as it were, on the thinnest of ice which may break at any moment, plunging us into the darkest and coldest of deep waters; but also encouraging because it is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit – as well as to the care and expertise of our health service.
The World I Fell Out Of is Reid’s remarkable memoir, written nearly nine years on from her accident and with a foreword by Andrew Marr. Like Reid’s column in The Times Magazine, which she began in the wake of her fall, the writing is frank and fuss-free. The book is dedicated to her husband and son, as well as to “all the people forced to live in the parallel world” that she was unaware of before she became tetraplegic.