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I Am the Cheese Paperback – September 11, 2007

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Editorial Reviews Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A horrifying tale . . . the buildup of suspense is terrific." - School Library Journal, Starred"AN ABSORBING, EVEN brilliant job. The book is assembled in mosaic fashion: a tiny chip here, a chip there. . . . Everything is related to something else; everything builds and builds to a fearsome climax. . . . Cormier . . . has the knack of making horror out of the ordinary, as the masters of suspense know how to do." - The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Rep Rei edition (September 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375840397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375840395
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 87 people found the following review helpful By John O'Hara on November 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a young child, I considered Robert Cormier one of my heroes. He wrote engaging, enigmatic stories that did not pander to his young adult audience, yet his novels were not too tough-and-stringy for such readers to digest. I read his entire catalog of books, from "The Chocolate War," to "Fade," and everything else in between, and each enthralling book helped me to examine (what were) complex social and moral issues. His books were refreshing and thought provoking, and I greatly appreciated Cormier's assumption that young children were capable of understanding three dimensional characters, hard truths, and pain more substantial the pain of a friend moving away or of losing a beloved pet.
Cormier's novels had a deep and beneficial impact on my developing personality, and I thank him.
Over the years, although I did not forget his name, I did not think about Cormier very much. He served his purpose, I felt, and had nothing new to offer.
Many of us know already that Robert Cormier recently passed away. I read it in the Boston Globe, and I was deeply saddened. I decided to, out of respect, re-read my favorite of his novels, "I am the Cheese." I was a little nervous, expecting to be disappointed.
This was not the case. "I am the Cheese," is a novel that is in many ways formatted for children. However, it is also a novel that can bring back (and make real), for those adults who want them, the feelings of loneliness, despair, suffocation, and unreasonable fear that we felt when we were thirteen or so.
This is no summer Disney flick with a few hidden tongues-in-cheek for Mom n' Dad. "I am the Cheese" is a (yes) simple, but POWERFUL tour-de-force of brittle yet sepulchral sentiment.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 29, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chilling. Sometimes authors can be separated into "Authors That End Their Depressing Book Hopefully" and "Authors That End Their Books In Deep Dark Dank Despair". Robert Cormier is of the latter category. In his remarkable, "I Am the Cheese", Cormier tells the technically adept tale of Adam Farmer. Cutting between scenes in which Adam tries to remember the events of his past and scenes of him riding his bike on a small quest to find his father, the book is a deft portrayal of what is real and what is imagined.
More than anything else, this is one of the rare psychological thrillers written specifically for youth. As Adam realizes what has happened to him, so too does the reader. And as Adam starts to mistrust his interrogator, ditto the reader. Clues to Adam's past come to him slowly, their subtlety impressive. For example, Adam discovers that his has two birth certificates. One says his correct birthday. The other, a birth date in a completely different month. This is a small discovery on his part, but a perfectly chilling one. He doesn't understand the significance of this discovery, nor does the reader, but we're compelled to discover what it all means.
If you've a kid who'd be interested in a book with an unreliable narrator, you couldn't do much better than this. Adam is sympathetic, but ultimately not in control of any of the forces that guide his travels. He is the world's victim, a fact explored fully at the novel's shocking close. DO NOT read the last page of this book if you want to be surprised. I, myself, caught an accidental glance and knew more than I ever wanted to as a result. This is not a book for anyone who likes their protagonist to overcome his/her personal struggles and triumph in some small way in the end.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 31, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Very much llike the title, "I am the cheese" (a book by Robert Comier)is rich in mystery, suspence and lip-biting climaxes.
The "Farmers" ;the main family in this story, undergo changes due to a past event... .Changes made include scenery jobs,house...and even identity.All changes for the better? The story centres around "Adam Farmer",the only child of Mr and Mrs"Farmer".He has a normal life ,unil he finds "his" birth certificates. More clues come up and he becomes a spy;watching and listening around the house. There are secrets,there's evidence. What aren't his parents telling him?
That was in the past, his on a journey now.cycling round the memories,around the psylumn. He's now traumatized by the past.The past he "can't remember".
But what happened?What forced him to "forget"? He's in an Asylumn ,but why is there? He says he's cycling to his father in Ruttenburg ,but why are they apart and where is his mother?
This book's a psychological thriller.A good read yet a little stinjy with the clues as to solving the mystery.The book constructs blocks of suspence with levels of clues. Climaxes come through out and right at the end is a unbelievably twisted surprize.
The story's set in Rutternberg,Vermont and in Monument Massachusetts.The setting's effectiveness lies in the thought of such a big thing happening in a well developed place ,yet it wasn't noticed or stopped... It makes me kind of think that something like this could be happening here in South Africa, JHB and I wouldn't even know about it.
The auther gives a heavy message lightly.A warning to us to open our eyes ,take notice and do something about things. He brings it through in a confusing, mind working yet entertaining way.
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