If I Fall, If I Die
|March 29, 2016||Posted by admin under Coming of age, Family, Fiction|
Written by Michael Christie
Published in 2015
Published by McClelland & Stewart
Distributed by Penguin Random House Canada
Reviewed by Andrea Scott
Publication Date: September 2015
“If I Fall, If I Die” is a book very different from any book I’ve read. The premise of the story immediately drew me in. The beginning of the story is excellent – Will has ventured outside (and he “did not die”) and immediately I wanted to know more about his life inside now that he has discovered outside. He has no memory of being outside before and his severely anxious – likely agoraphobic – mother has kept him isolated from the dangerous outside world. I loved the early chapters that described the world that Will and his mother had created inside their house – his destruction experiments, the murals pained all over the house, the fact that they had everything delivered to their door. If the whole book had continued like this I would have really loved it.
Every third or fourth chapter was called “Relaxation Time” which was really about the mother’s anxiety and how she was trying, but failing, to cope. Throughout the book, Will refers to his mother’s paralyzing anxiety attacks as the Black Lagoon and he spends all of his time trying to avoid triggering another episode.
In short order Will enters the outside world and starts going to school, much to his mother’s dismay. This is where the book starts to get weird. While at school Will befriends another misfit boy and soon they are both tangled up in a bizzare missing person’s case. I found everything surrounding this aspect of the plot less interesting and, quite frankly, quite unbelievable. Perhaps young adults would like this storyline more than I did. I thought the author had a good story developing regarding Will and his mother and his adventures navigating the outside world. I did not see the need for a mystery and certainly not this particular mystery.
I did like that the story was Canadian and set in Thunder Bay. And I felt like the main characters were well developed. I did not like the character of Titus at all and found his entire storyline to be far-fetched. Based on the description of the book and the opening chapters I thought the story would be very different than what it turned out to be. I felt like the author was trying to put too much in this book and it did not work for me. Overall, it was not a story a loved even though the beginning was excellent. I wish there had been more of that and less of the suspense.
To learn more about this book or to get your very own copy, visit the publisher’s website here.