Friday, December 08, 2006

Review: Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

This review was written by Alice Herold

Who knows the meaning of life? Could it be contained inside a box?

Wendy Mass, who wrote Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, was thinking outside the box, when she wrote this quirky, but charming, novel about a 12-year-old boy and his best friend, Lizzy. An example of the author's off-beat sense of humor is all of Jeremy's fish are named after other animals (dog, cat) because his mom won't let him have any real pets. She's been traumatized since her childhood rabbit died.

Jeremy's father died at age 39 and Lizzy's mother ran off with a cattle rancher making Lizzy an instant vegetarian. Both preteens are collectors. Jeremy collects mutant pieces of candy and Lizzy collects discarded playing cards striving to make a full deck. After their losses, is it any wonder the children are collectors?

Jeremy's father requested that a box be given to Jeremy to be opened on his 13th birthday. But, alas, the keys are missing. This is where the whirlwind adventure begins. The pair search for the keys at flea markets, pawn shops, fortune tellers while asking everyone they meet the meaning of life.

The author manages to include a great deal of information into the novel. Several pages are set in the Museum of Natural History where we learn all kinds of facts including how much Jermey weighs on the moon. (18 pounds)

I admit at first it was a stretch for a 62-year-old grandma to experience life through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy. Yet I found the book impossible to put down.

Read this entertaining book but be prepared to ponder the big question: What is the meaning of life?