Tuesday, February 17, 2015

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

3 Stars
Will has had a very unconventional childhood. He’s been raised in San Francisco and New York and Cairo and Paris and Toronto.

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Unfortunately all of those exotic locales were contained within the walls of his house. You see, Will’s mother is an extreme agoraphobe who hasn’t left the house, or allowed Will to leave the house, in years. At 12 years old Will realizes this is not normal and decides to brace himself for imminent death in order to venture to the Outside on his own. It is on the Outside that he meets a new friend, learns how to skateboard and learns that maybe his mother wasn’t completely wrong about the dangers waiting for him.

If I Fall, If I Die is Michael Christie’s first novel. Due to this fact he gets a bit of a pass. The man can write . . .

“The shadow that love can’t help but cast is fear: fear they won’t stay alive or around – fear they’ll be reckless, or doomed, or just walk away and not consider you ever again. With love, you’re scared it will disappear. With fear, you’re scared it never will. The trick . . . was getting used to both of them at the same time. It was living in between.”

He just wrote too much for my taste. The tale to be told here was that of Will’s life Inside and his explorations Outside – and Christie did it so well. I actually believed this story was being told by a boy who had zero experiences with the world beyond his house and it was amazing. It was enough - heck more than enough . . . but then the author decided to add in some “mystery” to the mix along with all of the family background and the going’s on from the mother’s perspective and the whole thing just got really muddled. The only thing that we needed to know about the family was they were all . . .

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That’s it, and it would have made for a much more interesting book. Still, it was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages so it deserves a solid 3 Stars. If it would have been marketed as a young adult story rather than plain old fiction it might have even scored higher. I love YA books that deal with unusual subject matter, and a main character who has never left his house is pretty up there on the unusual charts.

ARC provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review

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