Will has never been outside, at least not that he can remember. And he has certainly never known anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving woman who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world is comprised of only the rooms in their hom, each named after various exotic locales and filled with Will's art projects.
But the confines of his world are beginning to close in on Will. Despite his mother's protestations, Will straps on a protective helmet, and ventures outside…
The first sentence of this book will immediately have you intrigued :
"The boy stepped outside, and he did not die."
Will's mother suffers from agoraphobia, although not professionally diagnosed. Over the years she has slowly withdrawn herself from society and relies on people delivering items to the house in order to survive.
Moving back to her old family home after separating from her husband when Will was still very young, his is the life that Will has always known but you know kids, they are curious and of course his mum knew the day would come when he would want to venture out into the unknown, to explore, to get know the world that has up to this point been unwillingly kept from him.
The story is told from two points of view, Will's and his mum Diane's. I think this is cleverly done. It allows you to see the same events from different perspectives. Will sees himself almost as the protector of his mum, generally he thinks about how his actions will affect his mum and her condition, how she would react if he were to do certain things. While you get to learn just why his mums acts why she does and you are shown that sometimes the roles between parent and child can get blurry, overlap.
"So whether she was scared for him, or of him, it mattered little. Her job was still the same: To build them a world that death could never touch."
I love how this was written. The words come across as almost poetic, lyrical, they flow with ease and unveil a coming of age story, showing off the innocence of children and the complications of life that they sometimes miss in their naivety.
"Why be scared of breathing, Mom? Breathing never killed anyone. It keeps you alive. You just think about it too much."
It is heartfelt and filled with sensitivity. The narration has you really feeling for the characters. You see from the beginning that the bond between mother and son is a tight one. There is no negativity in their household, only love and understanding.
My only negative thought comes from the conclusion. I was left wanting more, what that more was I'm not sure, I just don't feel like the story was complete.
If I Fall, If I Die is a story that will stay with you. It's uplifting in a very honest way and although there is no "big drama", there is a slow build up with twists and turns along the way that are completely unexpected. Definitely a book to put on your TBR list.