Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Just in Case-Meg Rosoff

Just in Case
Meg Rosoff
Plume, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 978045228976

Infant Charlie Case is just learning to walk when he enters his older brother’s room. Fifteen year old David is not paying attention to his much younger sibling who climbs precariously on the sill of the open bedroom window. Charlie watches a bird fly by as he teeters on the ledge. A greyhound sitting outside nudges him back a bit until David happens to look up; panicky he pulls Charlie off the windowsill.

However the brush with death shakes David to the core while Charlie cannot understand why his brother prevented him from flying with the birds. David begins to see death and disaster on every corner as he begins to comprehend and personify Fate. He decides the only way to beat Fate in the game of personal mortality is to change one’s identity as Fate will seek to harm David Case, but not Justin Case and alters his image accordingly. However, accompanied by a greyhound that no one else sees, his efforts prove futile as he realizes with each next step he takes “This is how the world ends” even as photographer Agnes Bee turns him into the symbol of "doomed youth".

JUST IN CASE is an insightful allegorical look at life and all it offers through Justin’s efforts to avoid what he believes is everyone’s Fate: death. With Fate providing observations on life and death, parents hide in the sand to avoid the issues their teens face. Readers who appreciate a deep thought provoking parable will enjoy Justin Case’s efforts to survive but not live his life.

Harriet Klausner

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