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I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
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I Am the Cheese (1977)

by Robert Cormier

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,985695,076 (3.86)51
  1. 31
    Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (angelofmusic_81)
  2. 10
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (meggyweg)
    meggyweg: Both these books are perfectly structured, all the plot parts fitting so seamlessly together that not even a knife blade could slip between them. The endings to each are as inevitable as the end of the world.
  3. 00
    The Rag and Bone Shop by Robert Cormier (meggyweg)
  4. 01
    Life of Pi by Yann Martel (meggyweg)
    meggyweg: These two books are very different in plot, themes, etc., but they have similar whack-you-on-the-back-of-the-head type endings.
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» See also 51 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Adam Farmer is on a mission. To find out who he is. This is not your typical "coming of age" book. Although it is touted as "Young Adult," I both question an applaud that categorizing. I question it because of the way it gripped my attention. I couldn't put it down, and I am anything but a young adult. I can't stop thinking about it now that I've finished. It is not your typical "YA" fare. I applaud that designation because this is what young adults should have available to them for reading. Bravo! All authors writing for young adults should take a good hard look at this and quit writing down to teens.

Why only four stars? Because my star ratings are based on emotion. My emotion for four being that it is an excellent book that I recommend, but it didn't make me feel good. That wasn't its purpose. ( )
  MrsLee | Feb 11, 2019 |
If I were to judge a book by its title or cover, Robert Cormier's I Am the Cheese is definitely not a book that I would pick up. In fact, I probably would have gone my entire life without touching it if it weren't for the fact that one of my teachers assigned it for my class in Young Adult Literature. For that reason, I'm glad I took the class.

Like most of Cormier's books, I Am the Cheese is set in the town of Monument, Massachusetts. It is a fictional setting based on the author's own home town. In this story, the main character is Adam Farmer and doubles as my pick for PopSugar's 2017 Reading Challenge as a book with an unreliable narrator, because young Adam Farmer is precisely that: unreliable.

Adam Farmer grows up with a rather complicated life: his family is part of the early stages of the Witness Protection Program. They are relocated to Monument after his father uncovers deeply rooted corruption among government officials and, as a result, testifies against them. Having been young at the time, Adam only knows his life as it now and goes about his day to day business as any boy his age would. He meets and falls in love with a girl named Amy and one day decides to skip school and bike to Rutterberg, Vermont so that he can deliver a gift to his father, who is currently in the hospital. As Adam tells us his story of visiting his father, we are simultaneously introduced to him in the future, where he is currently under psychiatric care. There, he is urged to recover his memories via sessions with Brint. During these sessions, the reader learns more Adam and his family.

I really can't say a whole lot more about the book other than that without revealing spoilers, but what I can say is that this book has more twists and turns with sharp jerks than those little mini-coaster rides at a theme park. You know, the ones that leave you with bruises instead of making you scream with glee? Even better, these twists are rather dark in nature - more so than I would have expected for a book labeled Young Adult back in the 70s. It's extremely rare for me to find myself questioning elements of story throughout an entire book, but I Am the Cheese succeeded in doing just that.

Another interesting element to I Am the Cheese, and one of the many traits it shares with Post-Modernism literature, is the use of several different styles of writing within its pages. While the book has alternating perspectives, there is a clear distinction when each perspective changes: first person is from Adam's point-of-view; the interview transcripts are from recordings of Brint and Adam speaking; the final style is third-person limited, with most of its focus centered directly on Adam and what goes on around him.

I was also surprised to learn, via my instructor, that the number Adam calls to try and reach Amy was actually Cormier's personal phone number. He had put it in the book so that if readers called it, they would be able to speak with him - particularly during less happy moments in their life. That alone is deserving of kudos.

I Am the Cheese is undoubtedly one of my favorite Young Adult books and, as a result, I definitely plan to read more of Cormier's books, especially since many of them have startlingly dark themes. ( )
  agrimscythe | Mar 20, 2018 |
Not my favorite Cormier book. ( )
  Kaytron | Feb 28, 2017 |
I love all Cormier. My favorite y/a author ever. ( )
  Gordon.Edgar | Nov 29, 2016 |
Somehow, I find myself reading way too much Y-A literature this year. and just when I decide to wean myself away from this genre, up comes a sparkling piece of writing like this one that forces me to stay open to this genre yet. Superbly written book. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a quick and satisfying read. ( )
  _amritasharma_ | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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I am riding the bicycle and I am on Route 31 in Monument, Massachusetts, on my way to Rutterburg, Vermont, and I'm pedaling furiously because this is an old-fashioned bike, no speeds, no fenders, only the warped tires and the brakes that don't always work and the handlebars with cracked rubber grips to steer with.
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"Someday I will ride my bike out there."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440940605, Mass Market Paperback)

Imagine discovering that your whole life has been a fiction, your identity altered, and a new family history created. Suddenly nothing is as it once seemed; you can trust no one, maybe not even yourself. It is exactly this revelation that turns 14-year-old Adam Farmer's life upside down. As he tries to ascertain who he really is, Adam encounters a past, present, and future too horrible to contemplate. Suspense builds as the fragments of the story are assembled--a missing father, government corruption, espionage--until the shocking conclusion shatters the fragile mosaic. Young adult readers will easily relate to the shy and confused Adam, whose desperate searching for self resembles a disturbingly exaggerated version of the identity crisis common to the teenage years.

First published in 1977, I Am the Cheese provides an exciting introduction to psychological thrillers. This sensitive, emotional, subtly crafted novel by Robert Cormier (author of The Chocolate War) was a New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, as well as a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

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A young boy desperately tries to unlock his past yet knows he must hide those memories if he is to remain alive.

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