May 26, 2008
Book Review: Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Jeremy Fink is in a terrible spot. He has just received a wooden box that his deceased father left him to open on his thirteenth birthday. He didn't know about this box until just a few days ago. The box is labeled "The Meaning of Life." Jeremy's 13th birthday is right around the corner. He can't wait to open the box. There's only one problem: the lawyer who was keeping it until the right moment has lost the keys that are the only way to open it.
The search for the keys begins Jeremy on a search within himself for what he believes about friendship, loss, the meaning of life, and why we are here on this Earth.
The plot moves at a great pace. Jeremy and his best friend, Lizzie, are a hoot to be around. Jeremy, an observer and scientist at heart, is full of curiosity about everything around him. He has random facts jammed in his head like a Jeopardy expert. Lizzie, on the other hand, is the practical one, full of vinegar. Both feel a definite affection for each other. They have been childhood friends since birth.
There is a lot of plot packed into this story, but the impressive thing is that it isn't too long. Many things that seem meaningless at the time become meaningful later, such as the talent show that Jeremy and Lizzie enter.
Another strength about this book is that even though it is about the meaning of life, the book is full of more questions and answers, which lures the reader into thinking about the same things Jeremy is going through during this story. His story will take him through breaking and entering, community service, the stories of people's pasts, and a state fair.
Readers will enjoy Jeremy Fink. This is a great middle grade read. The only thing that annoyed me is that the author kept going on about Jeremy's love of junk food. I kept thinking he would have to be a complete porker but he was supposed to be skinny. I don't see how it added to the plot that Jeremy ate only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It actually detracted from the plot because Jeremy never changed this annoying habit.