Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
by Wendy Mass

Almost teenaged Jeremy Fink receives an unlikely package one day...a complicated lock box from his dead father, engraved with "the meaning of life" across the top. Along with his neighbor and best friend Lizzie, Jeremy sets off to find the set of keys that will open the box and reveal the answer to the mysteries that Jeremy has discovered.

Jeremy's quest and the quirks of the characters carry the story through some overly weighty philosophical bits regarding life, how to live it, and what it means. The book echoes other recent works, such as The Schwa was Here (Schusterman), and not so recent works in its plot device of "wealthy old guy teaches kid a lesson". The quest itself is reminiscient of Ed Kennedy's situation in I am the Messenger (Zusak) but this story for younger readers comes across as more heavy handed and more serious without probing similar issues at a comparable level of depth.