International Writers Magazine: Young Fiction
In Case By Meg Rosoff
to know where to begin writing this review about such an extraordinary
book. Its strange, haunting, humorous and deeply moving, and
unlike any book I have ever read. I am not just referring to the
plot here, although that alone is very original and extremely unique.
The devices used by Rosoff enhance the chilling character of Fate,
and the internal thoughts of a child. Rosoff doesnt use speech marks
when Fate is talking, but instead bold print. Also the language
Fate uses is almost like he is talking in riddles, which gives
him power, and a sense of omnipotence. He is everywhere. The baddie
of the book is unveiled, and by the end he began to get into my head as
well as Justins.
Justin Case- the lead character. Fifteen years old. Previously David Case,
until one day he finds his one year old brother, Charlie, attempting to
climb (or as Charlie puts it, fly) out of a window. David
saves Charlies life, but at what cost to his own? He becomes convinced
the fate is after him, and must run, must hide, must escape even himself.
He changes his name to Justin Case, and his entire persona must change
too. He creates a new world for himself, in which lives his imaginary,
Boy. He heads to a charity shop to revamp his wardrobe. This is where
he meets Agnes. Agnes is about to change Justins life entirely.
Instantly Agnes excepts what Justin tells her about fate and death, and
although she cant quite understand it, and thinks him somewhat bizarre,
she likes him. They form a slightly odd relationship, which, little does
Justin know, will turn out to break his already fragile heart.
Many other characters come into the story. Peter, a boy at Justins
school for one. They become good friends, Peter can even see Boy (Justins
dog). Peter has a sister, Dorathea, who can also see Boy. This sounds
confusing, as surely Boy is in Justins imagination? But for some
reason I didnt find myself confused by this. Peter and Dorathea
are clearly unique, special, odd even, just like Justin. It seems only
right that they should see his dog.
Justin becomes obsessed with the idea of fate gaining on him. He isn't
running fast enough, isn't hiding well enough. After a period of living
with Agnes, he decides he must spread his wings further still, takes his
passport and heads for the airport. But at the airport, he is happy and
content. Here he stays until one day Agnes comes to visit. As they are
about to embrace, a plane crashes into the spot where Justin was standing
only moments before. Fate has found him.
They survive. They go back to Agness and they have sex. She regrets
it. He is in love. Their relationship is tainted as far as she is concerned.
Justin is heart broken, and becoming more obsessed with fate and death
by the day. He starts to lose it, seeing things, hearing things, and he
becomes a shadow of his former self.
This book enthralled me from the first page. Its odd to say, but
I felt a connection with Justin. Some times, and Im sure we all
do it, I stop and think about fate, about destiny and my future, and I
think What is out there for me? For Justin, he feels his days
are numbered. Here is a young boy, suffering from love and heartbreak,
something we have all suffered. On one hand I would say Justin is depressed,
mentally unstable, and quite ill. On the other, I believe that this Fate
is after him. His parents put his breakdown down to teenage
angst. How many times did you hear that as a teenager? Its
her hormones, its only a crush. Justin, I believe
you. Sometimes I think Fate has it in for me too, although
possibly not on quite your scale.
© Anna Bennett November 2007
annielongstockings at hotmail.co.uk
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