Josh Stoll's Reviews > I Am the Cheese

I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
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's review
Feb 11, 2010

really liked it
Read in February, 2010

This book was something else, particularly for a young adult book-- its writing was messy, run on, and dense during the first person narrated segments, and clean and precise during the transcript segments. It touches on many topics important to young adults, and isn't afraid to address adult themes-- death, violence, sexuality. I loved the first person voice in this book, so neurotic and afraid, but poetic.
Summary: It'll be tough to summarize the plot without taking away the interest of the book-- who is Adam Farmer? Basically, Adam is a kid who escaping from somewhere to meet with his father, who's in a hospital over 70 miles away. He carries with him a package, and details his trip in first-person throughout the book-- he faces hurdles and obstacles, not the least of which is his love for Amy, a girl from his school. But the other segments of the book, which purport to be transcripts of a therapy session with Adam, reveal more about Adam's tragic past, and begin to unravel a story full of intrigue, danger, and utter melancholy.
Adam Farmer: A really great character. He is neurotic, afraid of everything, incredibly shy around everyone but Amy, and inimitably determined. He is a complicated voice, particularly when he's narrating his thoughts-- he often speaks in metaphor, and, particularly in the therapy sessions, can be reticent and unforthcoming.
Amy: Another interesting character. She talks "like a wise-guy", calling Adam "Ace" and the like. She has a game, Numbers, where she tries to fill up a shopping cart as full as possible without anybody asking questions. She is outgoing, intelligent, sensitive, and means everything to Adam, as she's the only person around whom he can even begin to be himself.
Other interesting information:
The thrust of this book primarily hinges on feeding a little bit of information about what's going on with the main character at a time. It isn't until the end that we fully realize the truth of our protagonist-- this book is worth reading for the ending alone. If you enjoy this quasi-mystery style of story-telling, you might try Atonement by Ian Mcewan, or Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer.

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