Diane Cardiel and her son, Will, live a reclusive life in their home in a small town in Canada. Diane is quite happy that she has Will to do all the things she’s too afraid to do around the house. When Will isn’t signing for their many home deliveries, changing light bulbs and doing laundry, they spend their days together reading, painting and pretending. Will, on the other hand, is curious about what life is like “Outside”. He’s realizing there’s a whole wide world that extends beyond the “Inside”, where they’ve assigned names like Toronto, Cairo and Paris to the rooms in their home.
Eventually, a chance meeting with a local boy, named Marcus, leads Will on an adventure Outside that includes school, girls, a new best friend named Jonah, skateboarding, ruthless bootleggers and a missing boy – all very much to the dismay of the extremely agoraphobic Diane. “Why must boys terrify the world to know it loves them?” Diane wonders as she desperately tries to keep Will from the same unfortunate fate as the rest of the Cardiel family.
There are layers upon layers within this one book. I appreciated that Michael Christie told the story from the perspectives of both mother and son. Diane’s heartbreaking story is told in a way that makes readers understand her so much more than we would if the story were told from just Will’s POV, which would probably have made Diane come off as a crazy, manipulative control freak. Instead, through Diane, we’re privy to all the loss and tragedy she’s suffered throughout her life. On the flip side, Will’s story is one of a boy, who is coming of age and finding his own way in the world – a world that doesn’t always include his overprotective mother. There are also some mystery and suspense elements to enhance the story even further.
I chose If I Fall, If I Die on a whim, but I was pleased to find that it is so much more than I expected. Michael Christie is a master storyteller. His words are beautifully lyrical, meaningful and poignant. His descriptive passages about Diane and her agoraphobia, were spot on – the panic that can begin slowly and then turn into something all consuming, can only come from someone who has experienced it – either first hand, or through a loved one. The love between a mother and her son is told in such a lovely way, it borders on poetry.
I cannot say enough about this book. I absolutely loved it. I would have given it more than five stars if I could have. I would highly recommend If I Fall, If I Die and feel it is suitable for adults, as well as young adults.
5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary Blogging For Books copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.