Publishing Date: January 20, 2014
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Pages: 323 pages
Family Life/Coming of Age Fiction
The Premise: The story follows a young boy named Will Cardiel, who has known the Inside for most of his life. His mom, Diane, is agoraphobic has been able to build a haven for Will within their home, where places are named after cities (Paris and Toronto for example), where it is safe. One day, Will gets the urge to venture Outside. He completely embraces the Outside, despite his mother's fear for it and what he finds out in the wild is friendship and a mystery of a missing boy.
My overall thoughts and review: To begin with, when I first read the premise of the book, I was instantly intrigued by this coming of age story. I watch this television show that features a mother that is agoraphobic and so I thought of that show as soon as I read the premise. It takes place in Thunder Bay, which I haven't visited myself, but it just made me incredibly happy to be reading a book that takes place not too far away from where I am.
I actually was able to attend the book launch this week at Type Books and meet the very lovely Michael Christie! I was able to speak to him for a few moments and sing my praise for the book and the parts I've read. He told me and fellow bloggers that the writing process of the book took quite some time and he had read many memoirs to help shape the narrative. We also were greeted with a small reading from Michael - from one of my favorite parts of the book: Will's first day at school.
There was actually this lovely illustration of the Thunder Bay of the book at the event and I just loved it!
Back to the review of course! Where can I start with this book? I was instantly smiling within the first few pages of the book and as I closed it, I was grinning like a mad woman. I just really enjoyed this so much. To begin with, in between all the chapters that take follow Will, there are the Relaxation Time chapters which follow his mother Diane. I really appreciated those chapters because it built a type of skeleton for the rest of the story. There was background information that came through in those chapters and it wasn't just Diane's struggle as an agoraphobic, but Diane's struggle as a mother as well.
The chapters that followed Will felt as if I was growing up with him as I turned each page. I loved how his voice was so strong and Christie was able to represent that age in such charming passages: "I'm going to be okay. I may not be a genius, but I'm getting stronger Outside. Nothing can realy hurt me" (103). The childlike wonder really comes across in the first few chapters from Will and Christie mentioned at the event that some of it comes from his own child, who says things that just really blow him away. I really loved the dynamic between Will and Diane in the book. At times, it was the typical mother and son relationship, but other moments, Will was much older than he actually was and I was so impressed how Christie was able to put this together stylistically. One particular passage that comes to mind that I really enjoyed was when Will saw how him being Outside had affected his mom, and how he didn't want to hurt his mom: "To be her guardian, he would need to protect his body and his heart. As much as it pained him, he would have to leave all the tantalizing mysteries of the Outside unsolved" (105).
All in all, I really loved this book. When I turned the last page, I wish there was more of Will's story. His interactions with his mom really resonated with me, but also his friendship with Jonah and Angela also made my heart swell. It was such a lovely story about the process of growing up and bravery. I cannot say enough good things about this book. If you are looking for a book that will make you smile, but also have you on the edge of your seat, literally worrying, like Diane worried for Will and how Will worried for Diane, then yes, this book is for you.
"Because falling is a part of it. We don't want to lie and make it look like we don't fall. Because we do. All the time."
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
Now available for purchase at:
And now, for an exciting giveaway!! Random House Canada has been kind enough to snag a signed copy of the book for me to give away to one of my lovely readers! All you have to do is follow the instructions on the rafflecopter giveaway and wait!
1) Follow the blog via Google Friend Connector or Bloglovin'
2) Follow me on twitter -> @padfootslibrary
3) Follow Random House on twitter -> @randomhouseCA
4) Follow the lovely Michael Christie on twitter -> @mrmikechristie
Thanks so much for entering & good luck!!
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Random House Canada for consideration/review. The giveaway copy of the book was kindly offered to me by Random House Canada as well. All opinions are my own.