Title: I Am the Cheese
Author: Robert Cormier
Publisher: Laurel Leaf, 1977
Where I got it: I took this out of my library.
This book is a very difficult one to summarize. We have Adam Farmer, a 14-year-old boy who is biking his way to Vermont from a small town in Massachusetts with the goal of visiting his father. Yet these first-person, present-tense accounts are alternated with taped conversations Adam has with a man named Brint, supposedly a psychiatrist of some sort—these conversations are an attempt to get Adam to remember his past which is so horrible that he has been repressing the memories. What does this all mean? Piece by piece the mystery of Adam's past comes together, leading to a shocking, and disturbing, conclusion.
A fast-paced narrative coupled with memories that reveal Adam's past bit by bit make for a compelling and page-turning read. I found this hard to put down, even if I wasn't sure I wanted to find out how it ended. Cormier brilliantly fits everything together at precisely the right moments, leading to revelation after revelation that left me breathless.
Though the ending is quite disturbing, it is one that fits the story and is completely loaded. Much is deliberately left ambiguous, especially Adam's fate and the cause of his current state. I read this for class, and my professor mentioned this has a taste of a dystopian state, with which I am inclined to agree. This is certainly a great pick for readers who want action and some substance in their books. It's very complex, but Cormier is a great storyteller and doesn't underestimate his audience.