If I Fall, If I Die by Michael ChristieIf I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

If I Fall, If I Die

byMichael Christie

Paperback | September 15, 2015

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"A sweet coming-of-age story... but Christie goes further, adding to the mix a Hardy Boys-style mystery about bootlegged alcohol, pet wolves that never forget a human scent, and generally shady goings-on in abandoned grain elevators... Compelling." The Globe and Mail 

     Will has never been Outside, at least not that he can remember. For most of his young life he has lived happily Inside with his mother, Diane, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Then, one day, Will ventures Outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. What he finds instead will set him on an unexpected journey of discovery.
     Will embraces the Outside and his newfound freedom with enthusiasm, and he eventually befriends Jonah, a quiet Native boy who introduces him to the most reckless and exhilarating activity he's ever seen: skateboarding. Even as Diane's fears intensify, Will finds his own fears fading and his body hardening with each new bruise, scrape, and fall. But life Outside quickly grows complicated, and Diane finds herself grappling with her greatest fear: will she be brave enough to save her son?
     Full of dazzling prose and irresistible characters, If I Fall, If I Die is a beautifully tender and unforgettable story.
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 skatebo...
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Title:If I Fall, If I DieFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 inPublished:September 15, 2015Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771022425

ISBN - 13:9780771022425

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Characters This was a quick read and I enjoyed the characters in the book.
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from highlight of the season Witty, clever, and expressed with clarity. This is a very bright and refreshing book and I was sad to put it down.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I wish there was more on the agoraphobia askPect but either way this is a great read
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What is there to fear Diane Cardiel has agoraphobia, and hasn't been outside in years. She is subject to panic attacks and sees everything as dangerous. She has passed these fears along to her son Will who has also remained indoors for the past eight years. He decided for himself that it was easier to go along with staying inside than to go out and upset his mother. Now that he's twelve, he decides to go outside and investigate a bang/explosion at the front of his house. This leads to a meeting with a boy, Marcus, about the same age as himself, followed by a rash of excursions outside. After a short time, Will determines that it's time for him to attend school where he makes a friend, Josuah and he continues to inquire about the now missing Marcus. This has lead him to question all that his mother has told him. Since he's spent all his time alone or with his mother, he hasn't formed relationships with any others and has to figure out this new world by himself. To complicate matters, he also has to figure out the girl thing. Will has no idea who to trust and what to expect from the outside world. He doesn't know what is reasonable to try and what is too risky. Things that would normally be learned over years of trial and error, he has to learn in a crash course before he gets himself in too deeply or dangerously. Throughout the book, I was nagged by the question of the transfer of the mother's mental health issues being transferred or impressed up the child. How does one deal with such a situation. I was rooting for Diane, I was eager to learn whether the impact of Will's ventures outside would have an impact on her. The story is told from both their perspectives which I felt was a good approach. This is a situation that affects both of them, though in very different ways. It wasn't touched on much, but it was interesting to see how the outside responded to Diane's situation. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to more novels by debut author Michael Christie. If you enjoyed Room by Emma Donoghue you'll probably enjoy If I Fall, If I Die.
Date published: 2015-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If I Fall, If i Die Michael Christie's writing sings with his exquisite use of superb metaphors and brilliant similes. Loved it! Breathtaking! His unique style is a light show of words that is pure pleasure.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read I found this book to be a bit long winded at the end but generally enjoyed the story. To see how the mother's agoraphobia developed and the impact this condition had one her young son and to see it from both points of view was interesting.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling insight into mental illness. I loved the words the author used in her descriptions in this book, they were very vivid and at times amusing. Growing up with an agoraphobic mother, who later succumbed to alcoholism and mental illness I found I could really identify with Will's conflicting feelings for his mother. At times uncomfortable to read but also compelling. I feel the author really understood his subject matter and described the emotions involved very well.
Date published: 2015-02-17

Bookclub Guide

1. If I Fall, If I Die begins the first time Will ventures outside the house he shares with his mother, Diane. What are his impressions of The Outside, and did they surprise you in any way?2. For Diane, the world is divided between comfort and danger, Inside and Outside. Is Will’s perception the same? Does it change over time?3. Grain elevators, abandoned buildings, feral wolves, the rough chop of the bay. What aspect of Thunder Bay was most vivid to you, and why? 4. "Her job was still the same: To build them a world that death could never touch.” To what extent are Diane’s fears for Will justified? Can you relate to her attempts to control Will’s environment in order to keep him safe?5. Both Will and Diane view Will largely as Diane’s protector, despite the fact that he is her child. Does this nurturing quality in Will translate to how he treats the other characters in the novel? 6. Jonah and Will forge an unlikely but enduring friendship. What do you think they learn from each other?7. “Helmetless and unafraid, Will could dance, spin, slide backwards and do 360s on one foot.” What does skateboarding represent for Will, and what do you think it represents for Diane?  8. Will encounters and befriends many characters on the fringes of society, from Jonah to Titus.  Do you think he is more open, and less judgmental, because of his isolation from mainstream culture and its ingrained stereotypes?9. After a terrible tragedy in his past, Titus returns to Thunder Bay searching for redemption. Do you think he finds it?10. Several characters in the novel, including Diane and Titus, struggle with mental illness. How do they attempt to manage their lives around their fears and limitations? Are their relationships with the people around them affected?11. How does Will’s relationship with his mother grow and change over the course of the novel? Does Will’s movie represent a new chapter for the two of them?12. Will changes his life through, no pun intended, sheer force of will. Does Diane’s life change in tandem? What about her identity as a mother, or an artist?13. Parenting and fear, love and courage—of these, what do you think this novel is most about?

Editorial Reviews

"A sort of Alice in Wonderland in reverse, where a kid from a place where fantasy reigns clambers out of his rabbit hole and emerges, awestruck, into the real world.... [His] journey brings out the wondrous in the mundane, and the emotional adventure of abiding friendship." --Toronto Star"Beneath the lessons there's a symbolic wondrousness to this book, with its roaming wolves and its characters named Jonah, Titus, Gideon, Icarus. Christie may be mixing his metaphors here, but so what? The truth is that childhood is as deep and lasting as any mythology." --The New York Times