Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, by Wendy Mass

Only one month before his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy Fink and his best friend Lizzy Muldoun receive a mysterious package in the mail.  The box is from Jeremy’s deceased father, and it contains a mysterious wooden box with four keyholes.  Determined to open the box, Jeremy and Lizzy set a goal to find all four of the lost keys during their summer vacation.  Their quest immediately runs into an obstacle when they run afoul of the law, and are required to complete a period of community service working with the mysterious Mr. Oswald.  As Jeremy’s birthday approaches fast, he begins to wonder if he’ll ever be able to open the box and discover the meaning of life.

One of the most remarkable things about this book is the amount of effort that Jeremy’s dad put into his project.  The plot follows a well-planned script that Mr. Fink laid out before he died, which includes major roles for many of his family friends and business partners.  It quickly becomes apparent that Mr. Fink was a devoted father, and he wanted to maintain a strong presence in Jeremy’s life even if he passed away.

I’m not going to spoil the ending by giving away the secret of life but yes, Jeremy does finally manage to open the box.  Even though the project of tracking down the missing keys tests his patience and resolve, it ends up being a great way for him to learn more about his father.  Do you ever wish that you had the opportunity to get to know a family member who’s passed away?

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