Meg Rosoff’s second book is about a boy called David Case who becomes obsessed with the idea that he is doomed. He changes his name to Justin as part of a general attempt to disguise himself so that his bad fate cannot find him; he makes friends with a boy called Peter; he has an imaginary dog called Boy; he gets taken up by a rather ruthless photographer girl called Agnes; and a number of things happen to him.
I have just finished this book, and here are the two thoughts I had about it:
1. Meg Rosoff has written a book that is completely entirely unlike her first book. Except that Justin’s baby brother has childlike wisdom and is psychic, like Daisy’s cousins, this book is just a completely different animal. Which is quite an impressive thing for Meg Rosoff to have done.
2. This book was not aimed at me. At first I thought it was going to be, because of all the unfocused but serious anxiety the protagonist was having, but then he kept on not worrying about being crazy. He didn’t worry about being crazy! Even when he was sort of worrying about being crazy, he was mostly thinking no, I am not crazy, it’s everybody else who is crazy because they don’t understand. I don’t understand this. I worry constantly about being crazy. And I thought about this the entire time I was reading. I know people are different, but still I could not make myself believe that somebody who was acting as crazy as Justin could fail to notice that he was crazy.
(I’ve just written crazy so many times that it’s become a random collection of letters. How good. I wish crazy could lose all meaning for me permanently and then I’d never have to worry about it anymore.)