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A heartfelt and wondrous debut, by a supremely gifted and exciting new voice in fiction. Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises on A heartfelt and wondrous debut, by a supremely gifted and exciting new voice in fiction. Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will's art projects. Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother's protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers. If I Fall, if I Die is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.


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A heartfelt and wondrous debut, by a supremely gifted and exciting new voice in fiction. Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises on A heartfelt and wondrous debut, by a supremely gifted and exciting new voice in fiction. Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will's art projects. Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother's protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers. If I Fall, if I Die is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.

30 review for If I Fall, If I Die

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Will has had a very unconventional childhood. He’s been raised in San Francisco and New York and Cairo and Paris and Toronto. Unfortunately all of those exotic locales were contained within the walls of his house. You see, Will’s mother is an extreme agoraphobe who hasn’t left the house, or allowed Will to leave the house, in years. At 12 years old Will realizes this is not normal and decides to brace himself for imminent death in Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ Will has had a very unconventional childhood. He’s been raised in San Francisco and New York and Cairo and Paris and Toronto. Unfortunately all of those exotic locales were contained within the walls of his house. You see, Will’s mother is an extreme agoraphobe who hasn’t left the house, or allowed Will to leave the house, in years. At 12 years old Will realizes this is not normal and decides to brace himself for imminent death in order to venture to the Outside on his own. It is on the Outside that he meets a new friend, learns how to skateboard, and learns that maybe his mother wasn’t completely wrong about the dangers waiting for him. If I Fall, If I Die is Michael Christie’s first novel. Due to this fact he gets a bit of a pass. The man can write . . . “The shadow that love can’t help but cast is fear: fear they won’t stay alive or around – fear they’ll be reckless, or doomed, or just walk away and not consider you ever again. With love, you’re scared it will disappear. With fear, you’re scared it never will. The trick . . . was getting used to both of them at the same time. It was living in between.” He just wrote too much for my taste. The tale to be told here was that of Will’s life Inside and his explorations Outside – and Christie did it so well. I actually believed this story was being told by a boy who had zero experiences with the world beyond his house and it was amazing. It was enough - heck more than enough . . . but then the author decided to add in some “mystery” to the mix along with all of the family background and the goings on from the mother’s perspective and the whole thing just got really muddled. The only thing that we needed to know about the family was they were all . . . That’s it. Sometimes a book doesn't need a bunch of bells and whistles in order to be complete. Still, it was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages so it deserves a solid 3 Stars. If it would have been marketed as a young adult story rather than plain old fiction it might have even scored higher. I love YA books that deal with unusual subject matter, and a main character who has never left his house is pretty up there on the unusual charts. ARC provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mish

    I wasn’t planning on reading this book so soon, but left my paperback at home and this was the only book I had on my phone. But as soon as I started it, I was mesmerised by the beautiful lyrical language and the sympathetic way the writer dealt with the family’s odd living arrangements, a Mother’s mental illness, and a child’s mysteries and adventures – there’s simply no way I could have put this down. Diane’s living with agoraphobia. Her illness became progressively worse, not long after her sep I wasn’t planning on reading this book so soon, but left my paperback at home and this was the only book I had on my phone. But as soon as I started it, I was mesmerised by the beautiful lyrical language and the sympathetic way the writer dealt with the family’s odd living arrangements, a Mother’s mental illness, and a child’s mysteries and adventures – there’s simply no way I could have put this down. Diane’s living with agoraphobia. Her illness became progressively worse, not long after her separation with her husband and the birth of her son Will. She moved back into her family home in Thunder Bay, Ontario, to raise her son on her own. Diane was a good mother, she raised her son in the best way she possible could under the circumstance; the bond between Mother and Son is tight one, their home is overflowing with love, respect and understanding. They filled their hours Indoors painting – ‘Masterpieces’ as Will would call them - playing guitar, reading, and if Will’s mother was having a one of her quiet times, Will would busy himself with his experiments. But as far as 12-year-old Will can remember he has never ventured outside....And Diane knew one day that time would come. The book reminded me of Emma Donahue’s Room, discovering the world for the first time from the point of view of a child. Will’s language was a challenge to comprehend initially. He talked about being in places such Cairo, Paris, and San Francisco, but there was no indication that he left his home (I thought there might be time travel involved). It certainly through me off, but I very intrigued to see where it was going. It became clear eventually, once I was able to really understand their situation, how Will’s mind worked. And it was then I really loved and looked forward to listening to him. Will, dressed in his protective gear, helmet and wetsuit, he took to the Outside world with such gusto and wide eye amazement. It was a wonderful experience seeing the world through Will’s eyes. He had such an inquisitive and bubbly nature, and enthusiasm was very contagious. He came to realise that the Outside wasn’t as scary as he was made to believe, but there’s the good and bad in everything. I love witnessing his growing friendship with a native boy, Jonah who introduced him to skateboarding, his first girl crush and kiss, and his growing personality. But there’s also a down side; seeing his friends used and discriminated because of their race, his run in with the crooked men in town, and the disappearance of a local boy – also a friend of Will’s. However, while I was having fun with Will’s adventures, I could not help feeling a sense of anxiousness and concern over Diane. How is she coping with Will’s newfound freedom? The book alternates between Will and Diane’s point of view. We hear from Diane how severe her condition is, the humiliation and loneliness that comes with it, past family tragedies and the guilt she’s been carrying around for years - which may or may not be a factor to her illness - and the shift in dynamic with Mother and Son. If I Fall, If I Die is simultaneously uplifting as it is devastating. Respectfully honest in its storytelling, beautiful and intelligent writing, and with characters I will not forget. Readers who love YA novels would just adore this book. Read for #litexp14 - Adventure Thanks to Crown Publishing and Netgalley for my review copy

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com I wanted to read this book because of the blurb stating Will's mom was agoraphobic and then of course she has the wonderful panic disorder. I have both and then some so I was really interested in this book. Sadly, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I'm not saying it was bad, I just didn't love it to death! So, Will and his mom have lived in their house since Will was a little boy. I think he's been inside for like 8 years with her. One day he decides www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com I wanted to read this book because of the blurb stating Will's mom was agoraphobic and then of course she has the wonderful panic disorder. I have both and then some so I was really interested in this book. Sadly, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I'm not saying it was bad, I just didn't love it to death! So, Will and his mom have lived in their house since Will was a little boy. I think he's been inside for like 8 years with her. One day he decides to venture out and finds out it's not all that bad. Suddenly he's making his mom send him to real school and making some friends. There is a lot of weird stuff going on in this book. Will venture's out into the world and the friend he made keeps running away and showing up. Will and his new friend Jonah have fun skateboarding and stuff, but they keep running into strange characters in the woods, etc. I like they have a lot of Natives in the book, but the town don't treat them good.. naturally! Will's mom had a brother Charlie that died and she believes their is some kind of curse on her family as people seem to die or some other tragic thing. She can't take it and stays in the house. There were some surprises at the end that did turn the sad, somewhat morbid story, into a really happy ending. *I would like to thank Blogging For Books for a free print copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A story about a young boy who has spent most of his first 8 yrs, inside his house with his agoraphobic mother. The world she built for him inside the house was so interesting and form the longest time he didn't want nor need more. Eventually though a loud noise sends him outside and from that his story will begin. We also learn about the mothers back story and how she came to be in the situation she now finds herself. This was my favorite part of the novel, the relationship between mother and son A story about a young boy who has spent most of his first 8 yrs, inside his house with his agoraphobic mother. The world she built for him inside the house was so interesting and form the longest time he didn't want nor need more. Eventually though a loud noise sends him outside and from that his story will begin. We also learn about the mothers back story and how she came to be in the situation she now finds herself. This was my favorite part of the novel, the relationship between mother and son. The mixing of mental illness with the love between them both. Lost my interest a bit when it started mixing in some nefarious outside influences, men and crimes. So this read turned out to be a mixed bag for me, though the writing was very good.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Will and his mother Diane live Inside their home in Thunder Bay. It really is Inside with a capital I because Diane suffers from severe agrophobia and never leaves the home and, by extension, neither does Will. His entire world is Inside, a point that is brought home to the reader by the fact that he has named each room in the house after a capitol city. Diane does not so much wrap him in cotton wool as smother him in it, with a layer of bubble wrap to boot. Every inch of their home has been ris Will and his mother Diane live Inside their home in Thunder Bay. It really is Inside with a capital I because Diane suffers from severe agrophobia and never leaves the home and, by extension, neither does Will. His entire world is Inside, a point that is brought home to the reader by the fact that he has named each room in the house after a capitol city. Diane does not so much wrap him in cotton wool as smother him in it, with a layer of bubble wrap to boot. Every inch of their home has been risk assessed for possible dangers, with the result that he wears a helmet all the time and a wetsuit whenever he needs to change a lightbulb. All their food is cooked in the slow cooker to minimise the chance of any lumps which might cause a choking hazard. When you realise this, you think you are in for quite a quirky read but in fact it is quite claustrophobic with very descriptive verbose writing that tends to drag. The plot emerges when Will finally decides that he is going to go Outside, but it is very slow to come out and the book doesn’t really pick up until about the halfway point, when all the lightbulbs in your non wet-suited mind suddenly ping as you “get the twist” to the story. It is when Will makes his first friends Outside – Marcus and Johah, that he becomes embroiled in a mystery, one which he needs to solve for the sake of his friends. All the time there is the back story being revealed of Diane’s growing up years – with family secrets that she doesn’t talk about, especially the tragic death of her twin brother. What happened to him is only very slowly revealed in the book, but his death has had a huge influence on her life and by default Will’s, even though he has never been told anything about Charlie. It is not a bad read but it is occasionally very dull and tedious and a real slog to get through, especially the first part. Thanks to the publishers for the review copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “Since he’d been Outside, he’d learned that fear was only a default setting, like how the TV always starts at channel 3 when you first turn it on. That everyone is born afraid of everything, but most people build calluses over top of it” If I Fall, If I Die is the first novel by prize-winning Canadian author and skateboarder, Michael Christie. Since he was a small boy, eleven-year-old Will Cardiel has lived Inside with his mom. Going Outside would just trigger a Black Lagoon for her, so he doesn’ “Since he’d been Outside, he’d learned that fear was only a default setting, like how the TV always starts at channel 3 when you first turn it on. That everyone is born afraid of everything, but most people build calluses over top of it” If I Fall, If I Die is the first novel by prize-winning Canadian author and skateboarder, Michael Christie. Since he was a small boy, eleven-year-old Will Cardiel has lived Inside with his mom. Going Outside would just trigger a Black Lagoon for her, so he doesn’t. Until today. Unable to ignore a loud noise, he investigates, meets another boy his age, and sets in motion major changes in his life. Diane Cardiel has agoraphobia. Once a successful filmmaker, her anxiety is now so great (“…her heart insisted on racing, like an oil-doused bird flapping for its life in her chest. Other sensations, too, unmistakeable as neon: a dull pain throughout, a soreness in her blood, a twisting in her gut, stardust in her fingertips. It would pass, a mere miscalculation of an errant brain that found danger where there was none, that saw a lion instead of the lamb before her”) that her life is limited to inside their house in Thunder Bay (and sometimes, inside her bedroom). Her fears for Will are many, but she knows that one day soon, she will have to let him go, let him live a normal life. When he insists on going to school, she somehow manages her anxiety. But when she discovers he has been going to the waterfront, to the grain elevators, her dread is overwhelming: “…what drove her panic today wasn’t that her brother had died at the elevators, just as her father did, or that her mother died a young woman. It was that anyone did. Anywhere. That tragedy made no distinction. That it claimed equally those who invited it and those who didn’t. Those treasured, and those ignored. That there was no protection, no spell. It knew every face. Every address” The story, told over two years of Will’s life, is narrated by Will, by Diane and by a man named Titus, whose identity is gradually revealed (although astute readers will guess correctly). Christie gives the reader a plausible plot, with several mysteries that take twists and turns before being finally resolved. His characters are complex and believable: none are wholly good, all have flaws and failings. There is plenty of humour in Will’s discovery of the Outside world. Christie gives the reader some marvellous descriptive prose. He can evoke the feel of an agoraphobic’s terror as easily as the confusion of an adolescent: “…such magnitudes of time had a similar underwhelming effect as when his mother first taught him that every single star was actually another sun just like theirs. They created a humph – then nothing. Some information was too enormous to cram into your mind” Christie obviously writes from experience: he grew up in Thunder Bay himself, and his love of skateboarding is apparent. This moving coming-of-age novel also touches on the plight of Native Canadians, the dangers of grain elevators, the attraction of pure grain liquor and the debilitating effects of agoraphobia. A remarkable debut.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Churchill

    Again, torn with this one. It starts out about a boy and his agaraphobic mother, neither of whom leave the house for many years until one day he ventures outside. This portion of the book is really interesting, insightful into the psychological issues and impact of this kind of problem, and the POVs of both mum on son are really interesting. Half way through it turns into an entirely different story. It's a mystery with some action... and it kinda feels like the issues of earlier in the book are Again, torn with this one. It starts out about a boy and his agaraphobic mother, neither of whom leave the house for many years until one day he ventures outside. This portion of the book is really interesting, insightful into the psychological issues and impact of this kind of problem, and the POVs of both mum on son are really interesting. Half way through it turns into an entirely different story. It's a mystery with some action... and it kinda feels like the issues of earlier in the book are forgotten. I liked the first half - a lot - but not so much the second half. Plus I have to mention that this isn't an easy read. The writing is beautiful, but it's tough going. Why use one sentence when five will do right? Reading it drained me a little, and that can't be a good thing. So mixed feelings. If I could recommend reading half a book I would, but I'm not sure that would work :/

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen M

    Originally reviewed on One More Page... For Will Cardiel, the Outside is uncharted territory. He’s been living with his agoraphobic mother Diane inside their house in Thunder Bay, Ontario for most of his life, opening the door only for deliverymen to collect cheques and drop off groceries and items they order online. Will has always seen himself as his mother’s protector from what he calls “Black Lagoon,” and he spends his days Inside drawing masterpieces and keeping his mother company. Inside wa Originally reviewed on One More Page... For Will Cardiel, the Outside is uncharted territory. He’s been living with his agoraphobic mother Diane inside their house in Thunder Bay, Ontario for most of his life, opening the door only for deliverymen to collect cheques and drop off groceries and items they order online. Will has always seen himself as his mother’s protector from what he calls “Black Lagoon,” and he spends his days Inside drawing masterpieces and keeping his mother company. Inside was all he ever needed – until a loud bang from Outside piques his curiosity and lures him out of the safety of his home. What follows is a story ripe with adventure, bravery, and most of all, love. I was lucky enough to be invited to Michael Christie’s book launch here in Toronto at the independent bookstore Type Books this week. I was extremely excited to attend the event because I absolutely adored the novel and wanted to learn more about the writing process from the author himself. I was able to chat briefly with Christie at the event where he told me that it took him four years to write the book, during which he read over 40 memoirs so he could feel confident in writing about a character with agoraphobia. His dedication to his research really shines through in If I Fall, If I Die, as Diane is an extremely complex yet utterly believable character at the same time. I loved that the “Relaxation Time” chapters gave Diane a voice in between chapters told from Will’s point of view, as it can be argued that her progress throughout the book is just as momentous as his. It always catches me off guard how packed 300 odd pages can be. Diane’s story could have easily been a novel on its own, but in If I Fall, If I Die, it is just one part of a larger story. Once Will takes his first steps and becomes acquainted with the Outside world, he (and the reader, along with him) is almost immediately swept up in the “criminal underbelly of city life,” teaming up with his new friend Jonah on a quest to find a missing boy. They navigate their way in and out of Thunder Bay, collecting clues and learning how to lift fingerprints. Will’s Outside world is both scary and comforting at the same time as he discovers that he is simultaneously stronger and more vulnerable than he ever knew he could be. I was thoroughly impressed by how, on top of the boys’ adventuring and Diane’s mental illness, Christie managed to fill an action-packed book with meaning and things to think about. The book is not only a coming of age story, but also one about the complexities of the mother/son relationship and a stark commentary on the racial prejudices against First Nations peoples in Thunder Bay. But while there is a seriousness to the story, Christie effortlessly infuses humour and completely normal situations to this captivating tale. One of my favourite parts in the book were those where Will and Jonah were practicing on their skateboards; in those moments, the story becomes a universal one, and readers get a glimpse into a very organic relationship between boys and their boards. Knowing that Christie was a professional skateboarder made it even more special; I guess it’s true that passions stay with us forever. Like most of my favourite books, If I Fall, If I Die has layers upon layers to be dissected, analyzed, and loved. It was a pleasure to read a book that was able to capture so many voices so accurately with such beautiful prose and emotion. This is a book you won’t want to miss in 2015.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Possibly the first great novel of 2015. Perfectly named for a book that deals with things such as phobia, mental disorders and, strangely enough, love, a frightening thing in itself when executed properly. Christie's book is equal parts a splendid, emotionally intelligent meditation on human nature and a brazen original coming of age story, taking place in a small hopeless town in rural Canada that has its own ugly side and one family who has had quite a share of tragedy of their own finding a c Possibly the first great novel of 2015. Perfectly named for a book that deals with things such as phobia, mental disorders and, strangely enough, love, a frightening thing in itself when executed properly. Christie's book is equal parts a splendid, emotionally intelligent meditation on human nature and a brazen original coming of age story, taking place in a small hopeless town in rural Canada that has its own ugly side and one family who has had quite a share of tragedy of their own finding a courage to be if not perfect or even perfectly sane, than at least brave enough to balance their imperfection in the face of daily dangers associated with existence. Christie renders both the claustrophobic safety of the Inside and the violently dangerous Outside with such vivid realism, both completely realized individual worlds that one young boy will learn to navigate guided by an indomitable spirit of youth and courage and wonder. Excellent book, well written, profound, moving, a great read. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    "How was it that to give a child life was to, on that the very same day--even before you could lay eyes upon their slick, purple bodies--have already given them their death? I loved this line in the book as it's so true. I think there is nothing greater than a mothers love. To be a mother that suddenly becomes terrified of the outside, of life, of dealings with other human beings. How do you raise a child when you can't even handle life yourself? And as a child, how do you know that the way your m "How was it that to give a child life was to, on that the very same day--even before you could lay eyes upon their slick, purple bodies--have already given them their death? I loved this line in the book as it's so true. I think there is nothing greater than a mothers love. To be a mother that suddenly becomes terrified of the outside, of life, of dealings with other human beings. How do you raise a child when you can't even handle life yourself? And as a child, how do you know that the way your mother is is not normal? Do you know, or do you accept only what you do know? If you get a chance pick up this book, it's one of those that you can't put down, even though I did several time for no other reason that I started reading it during the holidays and holiday obligations forced me to put it down!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have no idea what I just read. I don't know what the point was, I didn't like the multiple POVs, I don't understand the direction the story took, I just wish I had never started this book to begin with. Really wordy yet says nothing all at the same time. Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have no idea what I just read. I don't know what the point was, I didn't like the multiple POVs, I don't understand the direction the story took, I just wish I had never started this book to begin with. Really wordy yet says nothing all at the same time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    theresa

    WOW! i came back from lunch late today because i was just pages away from finishing this and just had to find out what happened. fantastic book with incredibly beautiful prose, wonderful(if not deeply flawed characters) AND it gives you so much to think about. Our Outside lives, our Inside lives (the capitals are intentional, btw) is it possible for a mother to love her son too much, what would you be willing to do to "save" some one, mental illness and a great mystery are all rolled up in this WOW! i came back from lunch late today because i was just pages away from finishing this and just had to find out what happened. fantastic book with incredibly beautiful prose, wonderful(if not deeply flawed characters) AND it gives you so much to think about. Our Outside lives, our Inside lives (the capitals are intentional, btw) is it possible for a mother to love her son too much, what would you be willing to do to "save" some one, mental illness and a great mystery are all rolled up in this book. i absolutely loved it and can't wait to pass it on to many people. i did receive this a a goodreads first reads in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    francine

    So...I kinda had to force myself to finish it. Not because I hated If I Fall, If I Die, but because I didn't love it either. It really had it's good moments but eh it, I just couldn't get that into it. But the concept of it and the mental ilness subject were great. So...I kinda had to force myself to finish it. Not because I hated If I Fall, If I Die, but because I didn't love it either. It really had it's good moments but eh it, I just couldn't get that into it. But the concept of it and the mental ilness subject were great.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Figgy

    The boy stepped Outside, and he did not die. He was not riddled with arrows, his hair did not spring into flame, and his breath did not crush his lungs like spent grocery bags. His eyeballs did not sizzle in their sockets, and his heart’s pistons did not seize. No barbarian lopped his head into a blood-soggy wicker basket, and no glinting ninja stars were zinged into his throat. Actually, incredibly; nothing happened – no immolation, no bloodbath, no spontaneous asphyxiation, no tide of shive The boy stepped Outside, and he did not die. He was not riddled with arrows, his hair did not spring into flame, and his breath did not crush his lungs like spent grocery bags. His eyeballs did not sizzle in their sockets, and his heart’s pistons did not seize. No barbarian lopped his head into a blood-soggy wicker basket, and no glinting ninja stars were zinged into his throat. Actually, incredibly; nothing happened – no immolation, no bloodbath, no spontaneous asphyxiation, no tide of shivery terror crashing upon the shore of his heart – not even a trace of his mother’s Black Lagoon in his breath. Twelve-year-old Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. His mother has severe agoraphobia and is fiercely protective of him, so they stay inside and name the rooms in their house after different cities around the world. They’d always called the kitchen Paris, his studio New York, their bedroom San Francisco, the living room Cairo. She told him it had been his idea when he was young, yet he couldn’t remember having it. To read certain quotes from within this book, to read the opening few chapters, the reader might find themselves anticipating an entirely different book than they end up getting. “What I’m most afraid of is breaking apart and losing everything.” “Aren’t you already broken apart?” “Not completely.” “Well, maybe you just need to get it over with,” he said, “like I do in skateboarding. If I’m scared to try a trick, I need to fall once really bad, and then I’m not scared anymore.” The premise is interesting, it deals with some interesting themes, the writing is interesting, but at some point it all starts to wear on the reader. It’s true, there are a lot of quotables in this book, a lot of fantastic lines, but it’s almost as though the book is trying to be too clever, too literary. The rest of this review can be found here!

  15. 5 out of 5

    M (RAIN CITY READS)

    This is a book full of heart. Its characters are complex, riddled with demons and yet beautiful in their vulnerability. I felt acutely connected to the characters in this book. I empathized with both Diane's doomed struggle against the uncontrollable waves of anxiety that stole her freedom, and with Will's need to both protect and escape her. His forays into the world, and the respite he finds in his friendships are fraught with longing, discovery and the pain of potential loss. There's Angela, This is a book full of heart. Its characters are complex, riddled with demons and yet beautiful in their vulnerability. I felt acutely connected to the characters in this book. I empathized with both Diane's doomed struggle against the uncontrollable waves of anxiety that stole her freedom, and with Will's need to both protect and escape her. His forays into the world, and the respite he finds in his friendships are fraught with longing, discovery and the pain of potential loss. There's Angela, a young girl who has already accepted her untimely demise from cystic fibrosis by grabbing every opportunity to live, and Jonah, whose talents range from beautiful drawings to effortlessly graceful skateboarding to a keen mind worthy of his dream to become a doctor. Both are limited by the circumstances of their birth, as Will is by his own, and both will teach him that the world is not as dangerous a place as he was raised to believe, but also that the inevitability of death is not worth giving up life to escape. This book is one of the most beautiful and emotionally evocative books I've read. I was deeply moved by Christie's ability to find the perfect words to express feelings I didn't even realize I had. Underpinning a deeply personal story is a larger view of a community's social construct, which comprises complex issues of poverty, race, disenfranchisement, abuse and disability that serve to constrict the lives of each character in turn. There are layers upon layers in this book - and it is written with generous measures of both insight and beauty. Whatever it is you look for in a book, you will find it here. This is a book whose characters will accompany you as you go about your day-to-day life for quite some time after you read the final paragraph (which was so beautiful I read it three times and then sat there, just wallowing in it). If I Fall, If I Die is most definitely top of the 2015 must-read list. (Full review published on BACKLIST BOOKS here.)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This book reels the reader in right from its very first pages! The story begins with Will’s first trip to the Outside. His mother, Diane, suffers from severe agoraphobia combined with depression. The novel is a bit reminiscent of Emma Donoghue’s Room, as this pair also their own parlance for the geography of their home. They have decorated them after cities from around the world, and while the turns of phrasing are certainly charming - Will is even humorous in his own way, this is a very sad rea This book reels the reader in right from its very first pages! The story begins with Will’s first trip to the Outside. His mother, Diane, suffers from severe agoraphobia combined with depression. The novel is a bit reminiscent of Emma Donoghue’s Room, as this pair also their own parlance for the geography of their home. They have decorated them after cities from around the world, and while the turns of phrasing are certainly charming - Will is even humorous in his own way, this is a very sad reality that has kept them Inside for eight years (just after Will turns three). And this unconventional coming-of-age story works very well. Though parts of it are sad, the book is also filled with more uplifting and beautiful scenes as well. I am completely impressed! The characters - in all of their instability - feel quite genuine. I do wish that there was a more firm timeframe (seems like the 1980s, maybe), but I suppose the sort of timelessness adds to the story in a certain way. I like how the skateboarding fits in and the strength of the details - particularly in the constant physicality of them. And though Will’s main impetus for venturing Outside remains only loosely resolved by the conclusion, this is still a very satisfying read! I definitely plan on keeping an eye out for more books from this author!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Seems like I have gone on a Canadian kick lately, and I really liked this story. The key, I think, is to stay with it at first, to not let the unusual delivery and confusing start defeat you, because the book becomes an interesting coming-of-age novel, with a good description of a serious mental breakdown (actually more than one). I was also particularly interested in the observation of discrimination against Canadian Native Americans, life in late twentieth century Thunder Bay, and enjoyed the Seems like I have gone on a Canadian kick lately, and I really liked this story. The key, I think, is to stay with it at first, to not let the unusual delivery and confusing start defeat you, because the book becomes an interesting coming-of-age novel, with a good description of a serious mental breakdown (actually more than one). I was also particularly interested in the observation of discrimination against Canadian Native Americans, life in late twentieth century Thunder Bay, and enjoyed the little mystery that was a thread in the story as well. Some of the characters were quite interesting. I think young adults will find a lot to love in the book, and anyone who has some love for skateboarding, that unusual tribe.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. The writing is divine. I wanted to crawl into the world of Diane and Will and give them big gigantic hugs. 4.5 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shawna Pampu

    4.5 Stars Graceful language tells this interesting, diverse, and beautiful story. Can a family with a perpetual black cloud overhead find a life in the sunshine? Definitely read to discover this answer, and how my much loved hometown, Thunder Bay, is an awesome adventurous backdrop for this story of an agoraphobic mom and her pulchritudinous soul of a son.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa I

    by Michael Christie WOW!! When a synopsis grabs you by the throat and screams you're going to LOVE this book, listen to that scream & read it! Thank you 'very' much to Random House, Crown publishing, Hogarth publishing and Goodreads for this advanced copy!! 'so' happy to have been given an ARC for this book!! Loved it on so many levels and understood it just the same. Full review to come.....writing a review without being able to post quotes and passages due to it being an unfinished proof by Michael Christie WOW!! When a synopsis grabs you by the throat and screams you're going to LOVE this book, listen to that scream & read it! Thank you 'very' much to Random House, Crown publishing, Hogarth publishing and Goodreads for this advanced copy!! 'so' happy to have been given an ARC for this book!! Loved it on so many levels and understood it just the same. Full review to come.....writing a review without being able to post quotes and passages due to it being an unfinished proof is going to be a major challenge with this one because there's truly so much I'd Love to share, however I will do my best to give this story the justice it deserves without the things I cannot share. Amazon pre-order link (for the hardcover format which is going to be a Beauty with the deckle edge finished product): http://www.amazon.com/If-Fall-Die-Mic... __________________________________________________________________________ Since I posted an update yesterday for this book and my having to start over yesterday, I thought it best to do my status update here as well. December 10, 2014 reading update: On page 181; This book....this story is far beyond words I use too often, like amazing, stunningly written, fulfilling and filled with 'so' much of everything. I'm incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to read this as an ARC. Words cannot possibly express that gratitude enough much because the topic hits home hard and I can relate far too much. Being able to relate to both sides of mother & child regarding the synopsis is incredible, with vibrant & vivid imagery all so strong due to the Author's impeccable style of writing. What's pouring into me are feelings of Sadness & of Hope.....Compassion & understanding so deeply embedded and known so well. It's Beautiful in its harshness & pain, yet a light as well because of the explorations of the MC and epiphanies taking place. My Heart is bleeding, crying, smiling & invested in the characters lives very much so. Purely Beautiful. Still have so much more to enjoy so off I go to read and finish.... I cannot wait to see where it's going. ___________________________________________________________________________ December 9, 2014: This is not my review yet. I actually just came back to reset the "date started". Due to family emergency I went back to chapter 3 and started over. From what I've read so far, I'm loving this book very much. I just skimmed some reviews, which I never do, but this story hits home hard and I do Hope that the subject matter is taken seriously while at the same time enjoy in the great read it is so far. It's very personal to me being that I have endured this and other phobias at the highest possible extreme since I was five years old (now 42), I've lived it first hand, as well as from the perspective of grandaughter, the daughter, and the mother of a family line of this horrible, life altering, draining and exhausting disorder among others. It's not a mental dis-ease! There is a distinct connection between the gut/brain reaction. Anyway, as I said, it's not my review yet, however I just had to share my thoughts because some people laugh it off and others roll eyes about the story. I hope to God/the Universe that nobody who feels that way about this story 'ever' has to exist an entire life knowing what it feels like from any and all angles of the story. I'll know more once I get further in and yes there are some areas which may be exaggerated to make the story more interesting, however more often than not they're not exaggerations. They are moments of pure hell. I'm off to catch up and finish this......Happy Reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy Warrick

    hated it. got to page 39. no more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    The boy stepped Outside, and he did not die.  He was not riddled with arrows, his hair did not spring into flame, and his breath did not crush his lungs like spent grocery bags. His eyeballs did not sizzle in their sockets, and his heart’s pistons did not seize. No barbarian lopped his head into a blood-soggy wicker basket, and no glinting ninja stars were zinged into his throat.  Actually, incredibly; nothing happened – no immolation, no bloodbath, no spontaneous asphyxiation, no tide of shive The boy stepped Outside, and he did not die.  He was not riddled with arrows, his hair did not spring into flame, and his breath did not crush his lungs like spent grocery bags. His eyeballs did not sizzle in their sockets, and his heart’s pistons did not seize. No barbarian lopped his head into a blood-soggy wicker basket, and no glinting ninja stars were zinged into his throat.  Actually, incredibly; nothing happened – no immolation, no bloodbath, no spontaneous asphyxiation, no tide of shivery terror crashing upon the shore of his heart – not even a trace of his mother’s Black Lagoon in his breath. This was one of the most exciting and mysterious openers I've read in a long time, and as I always strive to know as little as possible about the books I read before plunging in, I was wondering, “Oooh, what new dystopia is this?” And I don't think it's a spoiler (because the reader learns it right away) to say that this dystopia was also one of the most interesting ones I've ever seen (but stop reading this paragraph here if you really want to discover it for yourself): an imaginary world of apocalyptic danger created in the young boy's mind by his severely agoraphobic mother. Never before in his memory had Will gone Outside, and as a boy who removed his hockey helmet only to sleep and who wore a wetsuit to change lightbulbs, the bravery he called upon to investigate a banging in the yard was truly epic. Over time, as Will's curiosity grew stronger than his sympathy for his mother's all-encompassing fears for him – as he spends more and more time Outside – he learns that the deepest pain comes from trying to navigate the thornscape of interpersonal relationships. Author Michael Christie writes in a simile-rich, lyrical style, to varying results. I liked passages like: From behind, the houses adjacent to his looked small and vulnerable, like the underbellies of turtles or someone with their glasses off, but thought he went too far with phrases like: Tiny birds zipped through the branches like paper airplanes with brains or She could feel her face betray her, twisting and sweating, her eyes two flushed toilets. Too often I was scratching my head and thinking, “Well isn't that a strange way to put it”, and that would totally take me out of the moment, like being kidnapped off the bridge of the USS Enterprise by a Romulan transporter (my own lame attempt at a lame simile; don't blame Christie for that one). I thought that Christie did a good job of exploring the mental illness of Will's mother, Diane, and her flashbacks trace a lifetime of mounting debilitation. I enjoyed Will's journey as he got to meet and understand the outside world (but don't know if someone who had been raised with newspapers, television, movies, and books would have been quite that naive). I liked the setting in Thunder Bay, and especially the history of the city's decline. I really liked that the Native characters were shown to be decent and normal people who suffer extra burdens in order to make their way in the city, and while I am not unaware of the prejudice that they would face in general, I don't know if I totally bought that the teachers in the public schools would utterly ignore their Native students or that the Police Constable would overtly warn Will off from hanging out with Native kids: Most Indians don't know how to conduct themselves in a city...You need to make sure you don't turn yourself into one of those kids I haven't much interest in finding. But, Christie is from Thunder Bay, so maybe I am just naive and when a twelve-year-old Native boy runs away from a foster home, it's normal for no one to look for him. Christie is also a former professional skateboarder, and while I appreciate that it would be organic for him to imagine Will expressing his newfound freedom with ramps and pipes and ollies, as a grand metaphor for the courage and resilience that it takes to navigate a life, skateboarding is a little flimsy to us non-skaters. Surfers rode waves, which were already beautiful, but skateboarders made this beautiful: the ugly, discarded nooks and leftovers of a place, the abandoned, unused architecture that people preferred to ignore. Beneath their wheels, these dead places became sites of wonder. From the above, this might sound like a pretty interesting book, but where If I Fall, If I Die stumbles is in the mystery that Christie grafts on top of the psychological drama that he started with. As I found “the Butler” and his attack wolves to be pretty silly, it drained the mystery of any tension, and after the section from Titus' point of view, there was little mystery left. In the end, there was more I didn't like about this book than what I did, and what is most disappointing about that is that the core idea was just so fascinating; I wanted to like this so much that I'm doubly disappointed. I'd give 2.5 stars if I could, but need to round down; it was just okay.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Description (Goodreads): Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and fun- loving—full of art, science experiments, and music—and all confined to their small house. But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other ki Description (Goodreads): Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door. Their world is rich and fun- loving—full of art, science experiments, and music—and all confined to their small house. But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained. Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside. At his new school he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding. Together, they search for a missing local boy, help a bedraggled vagabond, and evade a dangerous bootlegger. The adventure is more than Will ever expected, pulling him far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood, and all the risks that everyday life offers. In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we’ll go for those we love. My Thoughts: I have seen how people act and behave after living environments like the one Will lives in. I do think the author did a great job on this character. Also, the mother's reactions are similar to what i have seen parents react like when their children do something tat try themselves find terrifying. I liked the plot a lot, and I have never found a book similar to this. I did not like the way the POV bounced around from character to charcter. It was confusing at times. Another part that I had issues with was how it wasn't explained what certain characters were actually referring to when talking about things that Will and his mother had unique names for. I did enjoy this, and finished this rather quickly. It is not perfect, but it was interesting. Excerpt: She always knew he would go to school, eventually, but she hoped he might bu sufficienty gifted to skip all the schoolyard heartbreak, the punch-ups, the crushing repetitive cards, the cruelities, and disappointments and failures of life in a Thunder Bay public school-- just leapfrog right into a good, safe university or fine arts program when he reached eighteen or so. Juilliard took homeschooled kids, didn't they? As did Berkley? It seemed like something they'd have to do, for ideology's sake. About The Author: MICHAEL CHRISTIE’s debut book of fiction, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Prize for Fiction, and won the Vancouver Book Award. Prior to earning an MFA from the University of British Columbia, he was a sponsored skateboarder and travelled throughout the world skateboarding and writing for skateboard magazines. Born in Thunder Bay, he now lives on Galiano Island with his wife and two sons. If I Fall, If I Die is his first novel. Recommendation: I really do think that if the synopsis interests you that you will probably enjoy this. I do feel that $11.99 is way too much for this in ebook format. I was a pallet when I saw that price tag. That is almost too much for a new release by an established author with a reputation for writing really great books. Amazon US I recieved a copy of this from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. If you are a blogger and haven't checked out their site, I recommend doing so. The process has been enjoyable and simple

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Verdict: While the dense writing doesn't quite match the exciting plot, If I Fall, If I Die is an interesting story that tackles a fascinating subject. Part thriller, part coming of age story, this novel details the story of a young boy and his agoraphobic (nope, I didn't know what that was either) mother. I have to appreciate that If I Fall, If I Die focuses on a subject that I'd certainly never seen in a novel before. I'd never even heard of the word "agoraphobia" before reading this. I espe Verdict: While the dense writing doesn't quite match the exciting plot, If I Fall, If I Die is an interesting story that tackles a fascinating subject. Part thriller, part coming of age story, this novel details the story of a young boy and his agoraphobic (nope, I didn't know what that was either) mother. I have to appreciate that If I Fall, If I Die focuses on a subject that I'd certainly never seen in a novel before. I'd never even heard of the word "agoraphobia" before reading this. I especially enjoyed the insights to Will's experiences being trapped indoors, and how his mother's conditions affected his upbringing. His relationship with her was so realistically complicated. But...this plot was all over the place. I was confused through a lot of it, because there was so much going on. From a subplot where Will tries to rescue his friend, Marcus, to Will's encounter with a bootlegger and a vagabond (???), I just couldn't keep up. I think this book could've been better if it had cut out some plot points, and maybe just focused on the story of Will escaping the confines of his own home while trying to rescue Marcus. Then I wouldn't have felt so lost in the plot, and anyway the most interesting aspect of the story was Will's relationship with his mother. The thing is, I try to be careful when I a criticize a book for being confusing because I tend to miss things when I read, to the point where I'm not sure if it's the book's fault or my own for not being able to keep up. However, I'm convinced that even if I could've kept up better, If I Fall, If I Die doesn't quite succeed in what it sets out to do. Besides too many plot points, a lot of the book's more exciting moments are slowed down with writing that is just too dense. The plot's fast, winding current is moving far too fast for the writing to keep up with. If the writing had been different, less detailed, it would've been a better match for this novel. There's a story here, I definitely think so, but you have to dig around to find it. [2.5 stars] Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a review copy of this book. Review from my blog: http://thebook-nook.weebly.com/

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie

    This press for this book has been very misleading. Many are comparing it to Room. The two books have very little in common and the comparison does not serve either book well. Will had spent most of his life in his home, never venturing outside because his mother suffers from an extreme form of agoraphobia. They have created a warm, cozy existence indoors. One day, with great trepidation and curiosity, Will ventures outside. This is what I thought the book would be about, how Will explores and ad This press for this book has been very misleading. Many are comparing it to Room. The two books have very little in common and the comparison does not serve either book well. Will had spent most of his life in his home, never venturing outside because his mother suffers from an extreme form of agoraphobia. They have created a warm, cozy existence indoors. One day, with great trepidation and curiosity, Will ventures outside. This is what I thought the book would be about, how Will explores and adjusts to real life in the big world and how his mother copes with his being outside the realm of her protection. There is however much more to this story! Will has some comical and some not so comical moments as he meets his first "friend" and then has other encounters. He quickly is thrust into a few real mysteries, a world of crime, the social strata and challenges of school, and the confusing cycles of friendship. He advances and retreats. His journey is not always smooth. He begins to assert himself and here is where the "coming of age" component" comes into the story. The book addresses the issues of racial inequity in their town, the effects of the loss of a major industry on a town, the way teens are treated by authorities, and most of all, the bonds of friendship. Just when I was starting to think the author was allowing his characters too many super powers he brings them back to life and reminds us that they are still young boys. The author does an excellent job of taking us into the mind of a woman experiencing extreme panic and incontrollable and irrational fears. Combining this with a mystery is not an easy job and it was well handled. There were a few too many red-herring thrown about for my taste, I like my mystery more mysterious, but that seems to be the norm these days. There are no easy answers in this book, no quick cures and I like that! Very fast paced, hard to put down read!

  26. 4 out of 5

    SherrieB

    Christie’s debut novel focuses on a woman, Diane with agoraphobia raising her young son Will completely within the bounds of their house. Will can’t remember ever leaving their house to go Outside. His entire world consists of the rooms of his house, the Inside, and his mother Diane. Then one day, Will does the unthinkable and ventures Outside. As Will stands Outside, he waits to stop breathing, for his hair to catch fire, for all manner of calamity to consume him. Nothing happens and Will is em Christie’s debut novel focuses on a woman, Diane with agoraphobia raising her young son Will completely within the bounds of their house. Will can’t remember ever leaving their house to go Outside. His entire world consists of the rooms of his house, the Inside, and his mother Diane. Then one day, Will does the unthinkable and ventures Outside. As Will stands Outside, he waits to stop breathing, for his hair to catch fire, for all manner of calamity to consume him. Nothing happens and Will is emboldened to venture further Outside. What follows is Will’s experience with the Outside world, for which he is wholly unprepared. This started off as a terrific novel. Christie does an admirable job of making the novel believable and letting the reader discover the Outside from Will’s perspective. Unfortunately, about half way through the novel, Christie does a complete 180, and the story crashes and burns a fiery death. It seemed that Christie took the novel to a certain point, and then had no idea where to go next, so he introduced a mystery and plot points that went far beyond stretching credibility. It’s unfortunate, since If I Fall, If I Die was a wonderful novel until this point. I’ll look forward to Christie’s next novel, since he shows promise. But this one needs work. Borrow this book from your library and read the first half which is very, very good. Then if you have an extreme desire to punish yourself, read the rest of it. Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen La Duca

    If I Fall, If I Die is the story of Will and his mother, Diane. Diane is an agoraphobic, which means she has a severe fear of going outside. Will stays at home and cares for his mother, having their meals and any other necessities needed to survive delivered to their house. Will has no memories of ever being in the “outside” world and his only interactions conversations he has with the deliverymen. One day, Will finally ventures outside and meets another boy, Marcus. He experiences his first inj If I Fall, If I Die is the story of Will and his mother, Diane. Diane is an agoraphobic, which means she has a severe fear of going outside. Will stays at home and cares for his mother, having their meals and any other necessities needed to survive delivered to their house. Will has no memories of ever being in the “outside” world and his only interactions conversations he has with the deliverymen. One day, Will finally ventures outside and meets another boy, Marcus. He experiences his first injury but also realizes what he’s been missing all these years. Will demands more freedom from his mother and their home and soon begins attending school; but when he tries to locate Marcus again, he discovers he is missing. The writing in If I Fall, If I Die is very beautiful and dreamlike, with fascinating characters and a compelling storyline. This book really makes you think about what it would be like to live with someone who suffers from such a severe case of mental illness. It’s a great story of bravery and of overcoming ones fears. Despite the serious themes scattered throughout; there is also a lot of humor, especially in the first half. This gives us, the reader, some much needed balance and I was very happy the author chose to do this. I really enjoyed this book and it would be a great read for teens and fans of the YA genre. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Crown Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sammi McSporran

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of If I Fall, If I Die through Goodreads First Reads. The word 'masterpiece' is used a lot throughout this story, and I think, fittingly, it is the perfect word to describe If I Fall, If I Die. This is an incredible and unique tale of a young boy and his mother, and the turn their lives take when Will braves the Outside for the first time. Fear and overcoming it is a big theme in this book, and one that is dealt with in so many ways, it's quite spectacular. From Wi I was lucky enough to win a copy of If I Fall, If I Die through Goodreads First Reads. The word 'masterpiece' is used a lot throughout this story, and I think, fittingly, it is the perfect word to describe If I Fall, If I Die. This is an incredible and unique tale of a young boy and his mother, and the turn their lives take when Will braves the Outside for the first time. Fear and overcoming it is a big theme in this book, and one that is dealt with in so many ways, it's quite spectacular. From Will's fearlessness, to his mother's terrified homebound state, the effect of fear is so well-examined and portrayed. As someone with an anxiety disorder, the way Will's mother is portrayed is incredibly true and you can't help but sympathise. I'm so glad she wasn't just crazy and afraid. I don't think I can find fault with this book. Everything from the characters and their development, to the plot twists, to the descriptive writing, all were perfect. It's wonderful. A thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read. Highly recommend. Five stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    If I Fall, I Die by Michael Christie has an intriguing premise, a mother with such severe agoraphobia that neither she not her son have left the house, until one day her son does leave and discovers the world outside of the world created in the house. The beginning started out strong, I was saddened though, as there is help for those suffering from agoraphobia and panic disorder and this woman should have been treated, however the subject matter was handled compassionately and I enjoyed reading If I Fall, I Die by Michael Christie has an intriguing premise, a mother with such severe agoraphobia that neither she not her son have left the house, until one day her son does leave and discovers the world outside of the world created in the house. The beginning started out strong, I was saddened though, as there is help for those suffering from agoraphobia and panic disorder and this woman should have been treated, however the subject matter was handled compassionately and I enjoyed reading how they created a world inside the house. Ultimately the book failed to keep my interest or rather I am not one who enjoys coming of age books, so it was more my preference of genre then anything the writer did or did not do. If I Fall, I Die may be of great interest to those who enjoy coming of age stories as well as to book discussion groups.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    Diane Cardiel has known grievous loss in her lifetime. Her mother when she was just a child, her father and her twin brother so she determines to protect her son, Will, at all costs. Diane becomes so obsessed with his safety that she has panic attacks that worsen to the point that she is housebound and so, of course, is Will. Will has never been outside that he can remember but eventually he must go outside, his small home is just not enough. A rich, multi-layered story that speaks to your heart Diane Cardiel has known grievous loss in her lifetime. Her mother when she was just a child, her father and her twin brother so she determines to protect her son, Will, at all costs. Diane becomes so obsessed with his safety that she has panic attacks that worsen to the point that she is housebound and so, of course, is Will. Will has never been outside that he can remember but eventually he must go outside, his small home is just not enough. A rich, multi-layered story that speaks to your heart. Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from Shelf Awareness in exchange for an unbiased review.

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