I’ve been missing in action on this blog for a few weeks, and I’m sorry about that, although I did just have a baby a few weeks ago, so I’m going to assume that’s a valid excuse for my lack of posting.
Speaking of children, this is a great segue into my next review: Michael Christie‘s If I Fall, If I Die. Why is that? Because his latest book delves into the complicated relationship between a mother and a son. Let me explain: Will lives with his anxiety-ridden Mother, who never leaves the house. So, he doesn’t either, until the very first page of the book where he experiences the outdoors for the first time, in a suburb of Thunder Bay, Ontario. It is of course, anti-climactic as he emerges on a regular summer day, but it’s a big deal for Will nonetheless, which prompts him to begin making his way outside on a regular basis, much to his Mother’s fear and horror. The book continues with Will’s adventures outside as he gets caught up in some trouble with the local homeless population, but luckily he makes friends with the street savvy Jonah, who helps him along the way. I’ve made this sound much more cutesy than it really is; Will does get himself into some pretty dangerous situations, but I don’t think that’s as important to delve into in this review.
I began reading this book while I was pregnant, evening reading a few pages in the labour/delivery room before my contractions started, and finished it a few days after my daughter came. When I completed it, I felt very differently about it than when I started. At the beginning, I thought the mother was crazy, and couldn’t relate at all to her anxieties and protectiveness. But in a few short days, I fully understood where her fears came from, and how they were able to consume her (side note: I won’t be shutting myself into my house anytime soon, but this character was a good warning sign all the same). I won’t spoil it for future readers, but the last few paragraphs of the book sum up a complicated sentiment nicely, basically describing the paradox of loving someone so much that it makes you vulnerable to immense pain in the future if something ever happened to them.
I chose to discuss this book on the next episode of Muse on CKUA, airing on May 3, where you can hear all my ramblings about this novel, but before I end off, I wanted to point out how interesting the authors himself is. Christie used to be a professional skateboarder, and he’s also interested in discussing and relating issues of homelessness. His first book The Beggar’s Garden was highly lauded, so I’m hoping that If I Fall, If I Die will also be a hot item in this Fall’s awards season. His unusually easy road to literary success makes him one of those authors that other authors love to hate, which is another reason I wanted to review a bit of his biography.
Even if you haven’t given birth to a child in the past few weeks, I still recommend picking this book up, because I know you’ll enjoy it, regardless of your relationship or parental status.