Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm Nobody, But Who Knows?

I always find it is easier to write a review when I truly enjoyed, loved, lived in the story.  Five star reviews are always easier to write because the words just flow. Maybe it is because I just want everyone to share in what I have found; like winning the lottery and wanting to give so much away. Maybe the story sweeps me away; maybe the characters are so alive they become friends (and enemies); maybe the story moved me to laughter or tears; maybe I couldn't put it down, reading until late into the new morning; BUT whatever it is, it makes the book.  Today's book, I'm Nobody (the Lost Pages) by Alex Marestaing has ALL these qualities. It is so good that I want to read it again, though I just finished it!

Just $1.99 on Kindle!
I'm Nobody
By Alex Marestaing
172 pages 285 KB
Published by Alex Marestaing

From Amazon:

Caleb Reed is losing his mind, at least that’s what his father thinks.
If it were only the show - America's Funniest Home Videos - the same taped episode he's watched every night for the last six years - then perhaps his parental unit wouldn’t worry so much. But there’s far more to the thirteen year-old’s manic daily regimen that makes even Caleb himself question his mental health.
For starters, there's his obsessive worry about the abandoned mansion across the street, and then there's that curious note someone left on his doorstep. It's neatly folded, black ribbon wrapped, and signed by a stranger named Emily Dickinson.
"I'm nobody. Who are you?" it reads. "Are you nobody too?"
In time, more of these strange, poetic messages arrive, silently beckoning the agoraphobic seventh grader to venture further and further from the safety of his home in order to retrieve them. Are the notes from Iris, the YouTube obsessed eighth grader who has begun filming an indie film on his street? Has his deceased older sister returned from the grave to deliver some sort of message? Or are the pages actually from the pen of Emily Dickinson, the reclusive and long dead 19th century poet?
With his sanity in question, Caleb Reed's entire existence depends on finding an answer.

About the Book:
     Caleb is lost: lost in a pool of grief; lost in the fear of danger; lost in a world of his own making. His fear of all the bad things that can happen keeps him a prisoner in his own home. Grief keeps him repeating his evening routine, without change, since he lost his sister. Caleb seems to have OCD, when we first meet him but is it really what's happening? Maybe it is because of how his sister died, a mystery for us, the readers. Above all, right now, Caleb is fascinated, troubled, and spooked by the old broken down mansion across the street. When it subtly changes, Caleb's fears magnify.  
    It just so happens that Iris, a girl who went to school with Caleb before his fears kept him home and a film maker in progress, has chosen to film the house for one of her current YouTube ventures. She accidentally sees Caleb standing at his upstairs bedroom window. The film maker in Iris realizes the story of Caleb, the boy who never leaves home, would make a great documentary. She knows she has to ask permission to film him and when she does, friendship seeds are sown.
   After Iris' first visit, a strange note is left for Caleb on his front porch. Thinking Iris left the note, Caleb forces himself to venture across the threshold slightly, to retrieve Iris' little letter. But why would Iris write, 

                        "I'm nobody. Who are you?
                          Are you Nobody Too?"

Caleb is compelled to answer and thus begins a series of notes passed between Caleb and this mystery person which slowly pulls him outside. But who is this mystery person? If not Iris, is it his dead sister, writing form the grave? And why sign the notes Emily Dickinson? Is Caleb losing his mind? Will his parents finally send him to Oak Glen, a place for people who have mental difficulties?

My Take: 
   What a wonderful tale!  All the time I was reading it, I could see a lovely movie being made from this story. It is a unique story, both uplifting and sad. Truth be told, I cried real, honest tears toward the end of the book - the tears some of us cry in the theater, hoping no one is watching. This happens when the main characters are so touching, true, and understandable that you feel as though they are alive and their story is real.  Marestaing did such a complete job of getting me into Caleb's world that I could feel his fear, his anguish, his uncertainty, and his anger. The slow, deliberate telling of Caleb's thoughts and reactions gives a deep sense of him. It almost felt like Marestaing had been in Caleb's shoes and dragged me into them as well. 
   This story is not only about fear but also about love, loss, life, and magic / miracles. The path from tragic beginnings through despair and back is a long scary road - one that Marestaing clearly leads his readers down.
    I look forward to the day when someone makes this tale into a movie - probably the same people who did "My Girl", "Stand By Me", or "Sandlot".

My recommendation: 
    Many people see this as a book written for an older audience. I say, if you can read To Kill a Mockingbird (I did in 8th grade) you will have no problem reading this. I most highly recommend this to all audiences. The story is clean, chaste, and character driven.  The only drawback to this story are the typos, which the author says has been dealt with since my copy was given to me.  That said, even if they haven't been, it would be a such a shame to miss this brilliant tale because of them.  Please take a moment and check out "I'm Nobody (the Lost Pages)".


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