Customer Review

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, October 31, 2006
This review is from: Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life (Hardcover)
For Jeremy Fink, the meaning of life is pretty simple. Stay safe, stay focused, stay the course. This is Jeremy's life, until the day the postman delivers a package addressed to his mother. Unable to check his curiosity and the taunts of his best friend, Lizzy, Jeremy opens the package to find a surprise like no other. Inside the cardboard box is another box, one made of a beautiful wood, sanded to a breathtaking sheen, comprised of four intricate locks, and inscribed with the words "The Meaning of Life." Underneath those life-changing words are others, smaller, unmistakably carved by his father: "For Jeremy Fink To Open On His 13th Birthday."

For many kids, turning thirteen is a big deal. After all, you're about to become a legitimate teenager, a purveyor of mystic knowledge, an "almost-adult" in a world ruled by adults. For Jeremy, turning thirteen has always been a goal. Now, though, there's another, much more important goal--finding a way to open this magnificent box without breaking it, since no one seems to know where the four keys are that are needed to open the locks. Even more unimaginable is the fact that his father seems to have sent him his birthday gift from beyond the grave. You see, years ago, when Jeremy was eight, his father had died. Had died, actually, at the age of thirty-eight, two years before the fortune teller had told him on his own thirteenth birthday that he would die at age forty.

It's important to Jeremy to open that box. It's imperative. It's a necessity. Somehow, his father knew the true meaning of life, and he's managed to provide Jeremy with that tantalizing secret. But how will he get the box open without breaking it--something he refuses to do? How will he and Lizzy, the risk-taker best friend with the non-stop mouth, figure out where to get the keys that hold the answers to that all-important question? When one of their schemes to get the keys to the box goes awry, both Jeremy and Lizzy are forced into working for a mysterious man who may just end up having the answers they need.

JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE is a wonderful, emotional read. Yes, I cried at the ending, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. This is a book that is about so much more than growing up; a book that is about so much more, even, than finding a way to open a birthday present. For Jeremy, those weeks before his thirteenth birthday are about becoming closer to the father he lost too soon, about learning the value of friendship, and about learning that the meaning of life, quite possibly, is something that each and every one of us can find inside ourselves.

Thanks to Ms. Mass for such an emotional, heartfelt read. This is a book perfect for both middle-school readers and older teens, and you won't go wrong picking up a copy for your library.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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