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If I Fall, If I Die

af Michael Christie

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
24235111,419 (3.52)15
Will's mother is a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and loving, full of art, experiments, and music-- but confined to their small house. When Will finally ventures outside-- clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids-- he is pulled far from the confines of his closed-off world and thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.… (mere)
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» Se også 15 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 35 (næste | vis alle)
I had read a lot about this book over the past couple of months, and I found the premise really interesting, so I decided to pick it up last week between books.

The story follows Will, an eleven-year-old boy who has grown up under the care of his severely agoraphobic mother and has never left his Thunder Bay home (Inside). The story started off exactly as I wanted it to: we are introduced to Will's world from his own perspective, how his mother's illness has influenced him, what he personally thinks of the world past his doorstep (Outside), and what he perceives a "normal" life to be. I was instantly hooked. Then you are introduced to his mother Diane's narration, which is an equally fascinating look at the events that led up to Diane's disorder, how she feels about her choices, and what it's like to live with crippling anxiety.

It was just after that, when the story began to change paths, that I became disappointed. The novel became less about what it was like to deal with agoraphobia and growing up in a different living environment and became more of a children's mystery novel threaded with a skateboarding theme. I found it disorienting how the sections narrated by Will reflected a book more suited to a younger audience whereas the sections narrated by Diane at times seemed to be from a separate novel intended for a more adult audience (these are the sections I enjoyed most).

Overall, I think this book is well suited for a more preteen audience. I'm just not personally interested in mysteries where young children are the heroes and "bad guys" are pretty one dimensional, where deus ex machina is used a bit too easily, and it's relatively easy to guess the twist. I think I would have absolutely enjoyed this more if I was younger; it just didn't appeal to my version of reality or what I wanted to focus on.
( )
  feralcreature | Oct 31, 2023 |
3 and a half stars..This book started out fantastic but lost a bit of momentum around halfway through. This is the story of the relationship between an increasingly agoraphobic Mom and her young son. At first Diane has mild to moderate panic attacks and can only leave her house for specific reasons. When the panic becomes so intense she can no longer drive she takes taxis. When the panic increases she no longer leaves the house at all, having everything delivered. She finds that even businesses who do not normally deliver will do so if you tell them you have a "severe condition" Diane is determined to keep her son Will safe from the "outside" His only experience with interacting with people comes from the deliveries he accepts and signs for since his mother is no longer able to answer the door. She tries to keep Will entertained inside, Will creates what he calls "masterpieces" and they pretend different parts of the house are different countries so that they may "travel" all over the world while remaining safely inside. When this is not enough for Will and he wants to venture outside he is made to wear a helmet. He is clueless when it comes to interacting with other children since he has never been allowed to do so. This leads to quite a bit of difficulty at first. As Will becomes increasingly curious and wants to experience more of the "outside" Diane's panic and mental illness worsens. After he notices that he is the only one wearing a helmet and he survives his first encounter with the outside he begins to question whether the world is as dangerous as his mother has led him to think. This was a sometimes humorous and sometimes sad look at mental illness and it's impact on families.
I received a free copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for review. ( )
  IreneCole | Jul 27, 2022 |
A captivating and witty coming of age story. Christie artfully blurs and redefines the lines between parent and child, reality and insanity, co-dependency and self-preservation. The novel is beautifully balanced by charming youthful innocence and the darkness and tragedy of mental illness.
*I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads* ( )
  vpor1222 | Jul 21, 2022 |
It was a good book that I really had to concentrate on if I was going to keep up with what was going on... ( )
  jenncaffeinated | Jul 4, 2021 |
Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have no idea what I just read. I don't know what the point was, I didn't like the multiple POVs, I don't understand the direction the story took, I just wish I had never started this book to begin with. Really wordy yet says nothing all at the same time. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 35 (næste | vis alle)
Still, “If I Fall, If I Die” is not intended exclusively as a meditation on Will’s difficult childhood in Thunder Bay. It’s also a bit of a connect-the-dots detective story that concerns, among other things, stolen garden hoses, missing children and mysterious strangers.
 
This atmospheric work of gritty realism explores themes of class mobility, self-determination, and the impact of mental illness, but the complex plot hinges upon extraordinary coincidences that strain credulity...Christie is particularly strong in handling the complexities of character, carefully exploring the psyches of two trapped individuals in a manner that recalls Emma Donoghue’s Room....The book also suffers in a couple of key sequences because unnatural stretches of dialogue serve to overtly explain aspects of plot or character development.
Still, Christie does an effective, moving job of illuminating how his novel’s unusual events leave his characters changed.
 
Do we really have nothing to fear but fear itself? Perhaps—but, as the characters in Canadian writer Christie’s deftly written first novel instruct us, our worries, even though debilitating, may not be altogether groundless....Dark, threatening, dislocating and altogether brilliant
 
Christie’s heavy use of imagery in this novel reflects the kind of writing favoured by MFA programs (he obtained his from the University of British Columbia) and sometimes proves muddled: “When the Black Lagoon came, when its bear trap was sprung upon her heart . . .” Yet he writes well about what he knows.....

Unfortunately, Christie turns the Marcus connection from facilitator of an original coming-of-age story to its very focus; he bogs down Will and Jonah in a plot (of young adult literature calibre) concerning Marcus’s ties to mobsters illegally fermenting and smuggling grain alcohol. The author even weaves in an unnecessary subplot about the fate of Diane’s long-lost brother and his best friend.

But no matter; there’s still plenty to enjoy here. If I Fall, If I Die is a sort of Alice in Wonderland in reverse, where a kid from a place where fantasy reigns clambers out of his rabbit hole and emerges, awestruck, into the real world.
 
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“Fair seed-time had my soul, and I grew up/Fostered alike by beauty and by fear”--Wordsworth
“I lived on dread—(she wrote)/To those who know/The stimulus there is/In danger—other impetus/Is numb—and vitalless—“ –Dickinson
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For my mother
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The boy stepped Outside, and he did not die.
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Will's mother is a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and loving, full of art, experiments, and music-- but confined to their small house. When Will finally ventures outside-- clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids-- he is pulled far from the confines of his closed-off world and thrust headfirst into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

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