Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Am The Cheese - Robert Cormier

Robert Cormier's I Am The Cheese is the story of Adam Farmer, a boy who travels by bicycle from his home in Monument, Mass. towards a Vermont hospital to visit his father.

The story of Adam's journey is interspersed with snippets of conversation between Adam and a man named Brint (doctor...interrogator?), who is guiding Adam towards remembering memories that he hopes are locked deep in Adam's head.  Adam is not sure but he doesn't know who to trust, or mistrust, but feels Brint is the only one helping him and therefore opens up. 

Born Paul Delmonte, Adam has lived a happy childhood until his father, a newspaper reporter, finds himself holding extremely volatile information about national and local political illegalities.  His father testifies in court and the family is put into the witness protection program, given new names, and moved to a hopefully safe location.

As Adam ages, he begins to find clues that things are not as they seem and begins to question his past. Eventually, he confronts his father who tells him what has occurred and shares, supposedly, just enough information to explain the situation but avoids putting Adam in danger. Then the family's supposed WPP connection tells them that they are in danger and must travel briefly for their own safety. They run, but are followed and are eventually caught.  Adam's parents are killed.

As Adam recalls these events, he realizes that these horrors are only the tip of the iceberg... I won't tell you any more so I don't spoil the story!

This book may sound a bit confusing, but it doesn't read that way. Being a young adult novel its pretty clear and fairly short.  Its a really great story and the ending is very exciting.

I have read varying interpretations of the book...that Adam/Paul is not who he thinks he is, that the occurrences with his family and his life in Monument never occurred, that the occurrences did occur and he is being held by enemies. Whichever way you look at the book, the story is quite interesting and definitely worth the read.  

This book was written in the 1970's and definitely fits in with the list of books that I should have read as a kid, but for some reason missed. I would have probably really enjoyed this. But, even for adults, this one holds up.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

More opinions at:
Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files
Tia's Book Musings


Jeane said...

I read this as a teen, and it remains one of my favorite books. I was really floored the first time, when I got to the end and realized the story wasn't at all what I had expected. I'm hoping it will hold up to another read someday as an adult.