Me & Death: An Afterlife Adventure [NOOK Book]

Overview

The story of one boy’s experience with the (not so) sweet hereafter.

Fresh from having stolen a piece of fruit and taunting the grocer, Jim, a fourteen-year-old wannabe gangster, bully, and car thief, is run over by a car. What follows is a hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit to the afterworld, courtesy of Richard Scrimger, one of the country’s finest writers.

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Me & Death: An Afterlife Adventure

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Overview

The story of one boy’s experience with the (not so) sweet hereafter.

Fresh from having stolen a piece of fruit and taunting the grocer, Jim, a fourteen-year-old wannabe gangster, bully, and car thief, is run over by a car. What follows is a hilarious, bleak, and ultimately hopeful visit to the afterworld, courtesy of Richard Scrimger, one of the country’s finest writers.

This is an afterlife peopled with unforgettable characters that might be drawn from video games: angry Slayers, tearful Mourners, and scary Grave Walkers. Jim meets them all and is given the chance to return to earth with the extraordinary gift of knowing what happens when we die. Now he must deal with living demons, including a neighborhood torturer and a truly creepy older sister. With imagery from the mean streets as well as the arcade, Me and Death is thought-provoking, exciting, sad, and funny — sometimes all at the same time.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An uninspired send-up of A Christmas Carol. A car hits neighborhood thug Jim, and while his body lies in a coma, his soul has a brief stay in a ramshackle Purgatory hotel. There he is shown visions of his former delinquency by three types of ghosts: a Mourner, a Grave Walker and a Slayer. When he finally comes to, he passionately vows to make amends for all his past transgressions in typical Scrooge fashion. Even though the connections between the characters and their Dickens inspirations are entirely obvious, Scrimger still spells it out in the text, leaving nothing to readers' imaginations. "You really are different, Jim. Ever since you came back from the hospital. You're like Scrooge in that movie." While Jim's irreverent tone is mildly amusing and the final showdown between him and the abusive father of one his previous victims is well choreographed and suspenseful, the story is didactic and predictable. A better choice is Gary Soto's lyrical, melancholic The Afterlife (2003). (Fantasy. 12 & up)
Publishers Weekly
In this fast-paced tale of life and death, Scrimger (Into the Ravine) explores the consequences actions can have on both sides of the mortal veil. Fourteen-year-old Jim is the neighborhood bully, a tough guy who steals fruit and cars and has nothing but disdain for his victims. After being run down by a car, he's taken to the Jordan Arms, where ghosts pass the time. While his body is in a coma, Jim's given the chance to relive key moments of his past and see where things went wrong, with a series of ghosts as his guides, and the promise of a chance to atone when he returns to the land of the living. Scrimger packs a lot into this short, philosophical tale, which openly acknowledges its Dickensian inspiration. The story largely plays out as a slightly gritty modern version of A Christmas Carol, though Scrimger dedicates the second half of the book to Jim's recovery from the accident and attempts at making reparations. If it doesn't break new ground thematically, readers should still find it an accessible story of redemption. Ages 11-up. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Into the Ravine:
“Scrimger is a deft and funny storyteller who understands early adolescent boys, their dreams, and their realities. . . . A funny, scary, exciting, and spot-on adventure.” — Booklist

Praise for A Nose for Adventure:
“A hilarious, exciting roller coaster of evasions, captures, and escapes . . . Snappy dialogue, humor, and clever plotting provide a rollicking adventure. . . .” — Booklist

Praise for From Charlie’s Point of View:
“From the mouths of these smartalecky characters come zinger after zinger, resulting in a laugh-out-loud-on-the-subway read . . . an undercurrent of emotion . . . will resonate with readers. . . .” — Time Out New York Kids

Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
In this take-off of A Christmas Carol, Jim is a very unlikeable fourteen-year-old gangster-wannabe who spends his days stealing, bullying and copping an attitude with everyone he comes in contact with. After he is hit by a car, Jim finds himself in an afterlife peopled with Mourners, Slayers and Grave Walkers, individuals who used to inhabit his own neighborhood when they were living. They give him an opportunity to re-visit some of his experiences, in the hope that he will change both his perspective and life course. When Jim comes out of his coma, he does his best to rectify some of the wrongs he had committed; in the process, he influences some of the people in his life for the better, as well. While there are a few interesting plot twists near the end of this story, it is a rather tepid and jumbled journey to get to them. Jim's change of heart comes on a little too suddenly to feel truly believable. Add to that the various moments of confusion and assorted unanswered questions along the way, and you'll find yourself best served by sticking with the original. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
VOYA - Kim Carter
After trying to get information about whether the cops caught his partner, Rafal, in the previous night's carjacking, fourteen-year-old Jim continues his late morning swagger through the neighborhood, giving a cat a kick and threatening Lloyd, whom Jim has been picking on since kindergarten. It's just another normal day—until Jim catches his ankle on the streetcar tracks, falls in front of a blue Pontiac, and suddenly finds himself hanging with Tadeusz, the legendary neighborhood boss, shot dead at the age of twenty two. Explaining that Jim is "standing in wet cement . . . [with] all the fear and anger, all the sadness in your life [tying] you down," Tadeusz declares that Jim has been given a gift: a near-death experience, with the chance to "climb out while the cement is still wet," before he dies, the cement sets, and he's trapped—like Tadeusz. Even as Jim gets the message, he's faced with the reality that turning things around isn't as easy as it sounds. While Me & Death could loosely be categorized as a modern-day, teenage version of A Christmas Carol, its focus on the "now what?" as Jim returns to life to face and make peace with the "living demons" brings an edge that will enthrall young teens. Flip, sad, poignant, funny, and fast-paced, with vivid characters, this book will be enjoyed by a range of young readers, particularly reluctant male readers. Reviewer: Kim Carter
VOYA - Chase Carter
I liked the book because, from the start, it captured my attention and I was engrossed in the story about a boy who got hit by a car and lived. I couldn't stop reading it. Due to the more mature subject matter and the puberty-related language, I think the book is appropriate for kids aged thirteen or older who can relate to the life lessons. Reviewer: Chase Carter, Teen Reviewer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770492141
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Age range: 10 years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Richard Scrimger is the award-winning author of nine novels for young readers, three picture books, three books for adults, and a variety of columns, screenplays, and short stories. His first children’s novel,
The Nose from Jupiter, won the 10th Annual Mr. Christie’s Book Award. His latest adult novel, Mystical Rose, was a Globe & Mail book of the year. He has four teenaged children, a collection of speeding tickets, and, usually, a puzzled expression. Visit Richard at his website, scrimger.ca.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Try It Again

    Have you wondered what life would be like after you died? Fourteen year old, Jim's life is crap now. He runs around with the wrong crowd. He helps his friend, Ral, to jack cars. He bullies other kids in his neighborhood. He gets his daily allowance of fresh fruit from the local grocery by using the five finger discount. Jim's mom is a drunk and seldom home. His sister, Cassie, who seems to talk to ghosts, is always dissing him; putting him down. When Jim gets hit by a car while chasing one of hi ...more Have you wondered what life would be like after you died? Fourteen year old, Jim's life is crap now. He runs around with the wrong crowd. He helps his friend, Ral, to jack cars. He bullies other kids in his neighborhood. He gets his daily allowance of fresh fruit from the local grocery by using the five finger discount. Jim's mom is a drunk and seldom home. His sister, Cassie, who seems to talk to ghosts, is always dissing him; putting him down. When Jim gets hit by a car while chasing one of his victims, his life really turns to crap.
    Luckily,Jim gets another chance to get it right. Three types of ghosts show him how the people in his neighborhood felt about him and how he effected their lives. He is shown what the afterlife would be like for someone like him. A gray, lonely, miserable afterlife, full of Mourners, Grave Walkers, and Slayers. After getting the dickens scared out of him, Jim realizes he wants a chance to change his life. Jim comes back as a changed boy, trying to right the wrongs of his past. He finds it's not as easy as he thought it would be to right a lifetime of wrongs.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A quick read about Jim, a 14-year-old who works hard to maintain

    A quick read about Jim, a 14-year-old who works hard to maintain his image of a slacker and a bully. He doesn't know his dad, his mom is a drunk, and his sister seems to have mental issues. After being hit by a car, Jim nearly dies but is given the opportunity to see his past life by three ghosts who reside in the gloomy, gray Jordan Arms afterlife hotel. Jim knows that he's being given a chance to change his life and does so when he "come back from the dead" in the ambulance. In his efforts to make amends, we learn the back story of individuals Jim hurt before the accident. This tale of a young man raised in poverty, influenced by thugs and the pull of gangs, will resonate with many students. Thanks to Puget Sound Council for the review copy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A cleverly written book

    In the story "Me and Death", 'death' as implied by the title, pervades the entire story, in so that the story begins with a near death experience and ends with one. From this main theme many sub-themes are further developed, namely the social commentaries of failed and abusive families and coming of age and entering into adulthood.

    The story takes the readers on an adventurous and wild but most times thought-provoking journey with the young protagonist, 14 year old Jim. Jim is introduced to us as a bully, a trouble-maker and a menace to society. However after a near death experience, he meets Tadeusz, one of the many ghosts who he encounters on the path to become a 'reformed' person. Interestingly, what all these ghosts have in common is that they are confined to Roncy because of their unhappy and or troubled past. Tadeusz takes Jim to the Jordan Arms; what would appear to be heaven, as he and Jim ascend into the clouds. However Jordan Arms is no Garden of Eden. Everything is grey, everyone there has lost their color and what they all share in common is misery and sadness. There, Jims gets the opportunity to look back at his life, acknowledge the people who he has hurt and in the process he gets a wake up call.

    "Me and Death" is a cleverly written book which has multiple didactic lessons. The author brings to light, sometimes in a comical way, many issues which plague society. Jim's mother is a drunk and she hardly pays him any attention and his sister abused him as a child in an attempt to seek the attention of her mother. Worthy of mention is the absence of Jim's father in the story. Jim hardly knows anything about him. These facts cause the readers to empathize with Jim and even justify his malicious and rebellious behavior since the readers come to understand that Jim is simply not loved.

    Also, through the relationship between Lloyd and his father, another important issue which arises is abuse in the family. Lloyd is locked in the trunk of his father's car and has to sleep there as a form of punishment. The author admits that Lloyd's situation in the book was channeled from a true story in which a five- year- old boy in Texas suffered similar abuse from his father.

    I would recommend this text to teenagers and young adults because there are many valuable lessons that can be learnt from the text. The story was at most times enjoyable although at other times predictable. What i enjoyed the most was Jim's wit and good sense of humor, even in his near death experience. He says and does things which a real life 14-year-old would do.

    Richard Scrimger has brought an interesting story to his readers, one in which a teenage boy stops being a boy and becomes a man.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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