Title : I’m Nobody
Author Alex Marestaing
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Caleb Read, a 13 year old agoraphobic is an unlikely yet compelling hero. Since he gave up school in 2nd grade he has rarely left his house. His father has given up on him and wants him admitted to a local psychiatric hospital. His mother is well intentioned but overprotective. And his sister died a number of years ago. He has no friends except his cat. He is nobody and he has nobody. Until letters start arriving from a stranger named Emily Dickinson and he finally starts to explore the world outside his front door.
“When Anneliese had died, so had home.
Lost in the blue light of daytime T.V., his mother hardly ever came out of her room anymore.
And his father? Well, he hid behind the walls of work as if family life was a wound that would heal on its own.
Yes, like Emily had written, Caleb was homeless …homeless at home.”
This book is exceptionally well written and drew me in from the first line to the last line. It’s only 116 pages so I just inhaled it over two very satisfying sittings. I am already a lover of Emily Dickinson’s poems so I loved the way they were cleverly woven into this story. As Caleb took his first tentative, scared steps on to the porch to retrieve the first note, I was cheering him on from my armchair. I wanted him to succeed and start to live his life.
As the book is so short, the plot is not very intricate. However in my mind, what we lack in quantity in this book, we make up for it with the quality of the writing. There are some great descriptions and unusual imagery in this book that I feel would capture the imagination of a younger person.
Through Caleb’s eyes we feel his fear about all the things that can go wrong when you interact with the world. We celebrate along with him when he starts to make connections first to Emily through the notes and then to Iris, his first real life friend. Caleb and Iris are totally satisfying characters and it’s refreshing to come across a book that is just about friendship and is not a romance.
I’m recommending this book to all younger readers and also fans of Emily Dickinson. This book is aimed at middle grade readers but if you like well written books and are ok with a simple plot then you should give this one a go even if you are a lot older than the target audience.
Thanks to the author for giving me this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.