I’m a little late to the party on this review–I was hoping to have the book in time for #ReadForMentalHealthWeek. However, If I Fall, If I Die comes out tomorrow, so perhaps I am right on schedule!
When I read the summary, I thought this would be a simple, beautiful story of a boy with a mentally ill mother. And in the beginning, it had the potential to be just that. Will’s mother is agoraphobic, and together they have created a world of cities within their home, full of books and art and music. He’s never been Outside, wears a hockey helmet for protection, and his only connection with the Outside to accept groceries from the delivery men.
However, this world is confining, and when Will is 10, eventually he is drawn Outside for the first time.
From then on, the story tumbles into “weird” territory. It starts as just a boy shaking off the binds of agoraphobia that his mother has held him with, but instead of leading us into simple discovery, Will is thrust into a huge overwhelmingly crazy adventure.
The author, Michael Christie, completely lost me at that point. I have no idea what his point was, or what exactly Will was supposed to find. He gets wrapped up in this search to find a teenager he saw once, who is involved in some kind of bootlegging ring–there’s heavy Native American prejudice, poverty, violence, police corruption–important things, but really big, over the top things that are a bit unrealistic for a young kid who has never been outside ever to be so aware of/involved in. I just couldn’t get into it.
The other thing that bothered me, or maybe this was why it made it so unbelievable to me, was that here Will was, able to do this massive investigation into Thunder Bay’s crime scene, relate to Angela’s sickness and Jonah’s persecution…but he was absolutely HORRIBLE to his mother. He absolutely ripped her apart every time he went home. As in, “I made it out, I’ve almost died a million times while being Outside, but I’m alive, just stop being so ridiculous and get over it already.” That kind of horrible. He completely lost his compassion towards her, even knowing the depth of her Black Lagoon.
I couldn’t finish the book. I only have about 75 pages or so left, but I just couldn’t do it. It’s not even apathy at this point, it’s more like angry confusion. I always hate giving one dragon, but I just can’t give it anything else.
Blogging for Books provided this for an unbiased review. Releases on October 20.