“A: I want to go back. I’m not going to say another word.
T: As you wish. Let us suspend.” (I am the Cheese by Robert Cormier)
Had I not been assigned I am the Cheese, I don’t think I ever would have touched it. Apart from the obvious reasons connected with the edition’s library status (ripped up cover, yellowed pages, and unidentified brown spots), the book is a YA psychological thriller. Even if I were to ever read in the ambiguous genre of ‘psychological thriller’, I would surely never think to do it from the perspective of an adolescent. Now, I am not necessarily saying that you should follow in my footsteps this time, but if you have a propensity to question reality, become paranoid at off comments, or prefer to spend your waking moments in a slight state of unease, you may have found your next read.
A puzzle within a puzzle within a labyrinth, this book is so difficult to find your way out of that I don’t even think our strange, unreliable narrator ever did. Most stories answer a few key questions immediately: who is the main character, where is the main character, and why is this story being told? Not only do we not find out an answer to any of these question until the last few pages, but each question has at least two correct answers. Yet, do not make the mistake of thinking that this is a cold and calculated work; be prepared to have the russian-doll-like revelations pull at your heart strings as you deal with this story of loss. Whatever your tastes in literature, this is a novel that respects the intellect and maturity of its adolescent readers, and for that, it must be labeled worthy.