What I Was – Meg Rosoff
‘’I am a century old, an impossible age, and my brain has no anchor in the present. Instead it drifts, nearly always to the same shore. Today, as most days, it is 1962. The year I discovered love. I am sixteen years old.’’
A weird book. Unexpected in every way. Written like a fairytale, it is the story of a boy who’s growing up.
When you start reading, you really have to force yourself to keep reading. In the beginning, nothing really happens. You read for 200 pages, and when you’ve finished you realize that you’ve read a very superficial story. How two children get to know each other, how they are bonding in a very special way. Two children, Finn and Hilary. Hilary tells the reader the story, about his special bond with Finn. How they met, with every detail of how he feels. This can be a bit boring and you wonder why the writer takes so long to describe almost every detail.
But when you come to the end of the book, the reading was worth everything. The plot is so special, so unexpected. The whole book changes, what first was ‘’boring’’ now has a meaning, and makes the story even more beautiful. Because you have every detail of the bond between the two boys, you think you know everything about them and their feelings. But you absolutely don’t. Nothing is what it seems, even the way the main characters are and act. Hilary goes a bit crazy when Finn is away to the hospital, and he does weird things like kicking his only friend from his school. His mixed feelings make everything more unexpected. The weird bond with his parents, the rules he makes for himself in his head all the time, the fact that he is sent off from three schools before he is at this school, the fact that Finn lives alone in a house next to the sea where Hilary drops by now and then like nothing is the matter.
And then, Finn has gone. In a way, it seems that Hilary takes over Finn’s life, he becomes the person he always wanted to be.
When the story is over, you wonder if Finn really existed. No one except Hilary himself has ever seen Finn. It’s such a weird, beautiful story and when Hilary tells it to you he’s already 100 years old, probably old and maybe crazy, so what is imagination and what is real?