28 September 2011

Flip by Martyn Bedford

Wendy Lamb Books

This book was awesome!  It’s the story of Alex who, one morning, wakes up inside Phillip “Flip” Garamond’s body.  He doesn’t know how he got there, but his body is in a coma and he’s not sure if the switch is permanent or if there is a way for him to return to his body.  Living someone else’s life is extremely complicated and as Alex tries to figure out if he should stay Flip or return to Alex he continually gets himself in trouble and can’t seem to keep his emotions or actions in check.  Eventually he meets someone who has had the same experience, which helps, but when he learns that his family (Alex’s) is thinking about removing life support, he is faced with a very difficult choice – figure out a way to return to his own body or spend the rest of his life as Flip.
I really enjoyed this book – it made me think about what makes my life good and what annoys me about life, and that's something I don't think teenagers think about very often.  Alex is asthmatic and clumsy, but Flip is an athlete.  Flip is quite the ladies man, Alex isn't.  So for a few months, Alex has the opportunity to life a life he wouldn't otherwise have.  But is it worth it?  The book attempts examines whether or not the grass is greener on the other side from a teenager's point of view.  Pre-switch, Alex had an OK life - it wasn't perfect and he was kind of a dork.  Once he switches and gets the life that all teenagers think they want, he realizes how much he loves his family and is able to see all the great things his life had to offer. When I think about the students I serve here in comparison to Alex, I wonder if they would have the same reaction.  If life weren't great, would you miss it when it was gone?  As a teacher, we see all kinds of life situations, and I wonder - if psychic evacuation (the term Bradford coins for what happens to Alex) were possible, would everyone really miss their previous lives, or would it be a massive improvement for some people?
I guess I'm just going to be thankful that I love my life enough to not want it to end.

I would definitely recommend this book to just about any middle school student.  The only caveat I have about this book is that it might be difficult for reluctant readers because Bradford English so some of the terminology would be difficult for them.  While this book hasn't made it on to my favorite books of all time list, it was definitely worth the read and I will admit that I stayed up late the other night just to finish it!

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