2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book not to be forgotten
To classify this book as young adult is a mistake. This is the kind of novel which can appeal to people of all ages. The young character deals with so many issues and feelings that everyone confronts sooner or later in one's life. Perhaps we would all like the gift to fade away-- to see the world without being seen. To view the true colors of others is a talent we all try...
Published on March 20 1998
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing
First, the prurience issue...it's SEXUALLY EXPLICIT... A sexually explicit coming-of-age novel from the eighties. Who'd'a thunk it? And when it comes right down to it, if you really think high school kids haven't already thought about this stuff without having read this book... well, let's put it more simply-- if you're the parent of a high school student who HASN'T...
Published on June 11 2000 by Robert Beveridge
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book not to be forgotten,
By A Customer
To classify this book as young adult is a mistake. This is the kind of novel which can appeal to people of all ages. The young character deals with so many issues and feelings that everyone confronts sooner or later in one's life. Perhaps we would all like the gift to fade away-- to see the world without being seen. To view the true colors of others is a talent we all try to develop; to realize one's self is something we never truly fulfill. By far, this is Cormier's most creative novel. His language portrays the dreary and dark surroundings of the charatcer. You will never want to put this book down.
4.0 out of 5 stars "Every family has its mysteries.",
Fade by Robert Cormier is a great book.
Fade is a book with many different settings and point of views. It begins with Paul who is around the age of 13 when he finds out he has a gift. He is able to become invisible. Then there is Ozzie, Paul's nephew. Who is angry at the world because of his terrible life. After him there is Susan, Paul's distant cousin who finds a manuscript written by Paul about his life and the ways he dealt with "the fade."
Reading the synopsis of this book I thought it would be a good book to read because I've always thought it would be cool if I could become invisible. I know, silly, but I thought about it before. Of course when I thought about things like that I didn't think about the negative aspects and ways that I would most likely abuse the power, but this book reveals all the possibilities if "the fade" were real. I am not surprised that this was such a good book, since Robert Cormier writes amazing books. This book also dealt with a lot of other issues and it was just an all around great book to read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Fade in our hearts,
This book is great! It totally reveals the different aspects people view on certain subjects. How this book was written also enhances the addictive plot in this book.
The book was bisected into two different time periods, flashing back and forth, starting off with Paul the main character's autobiographical letter. In this writing, Paul described the ability of fade and how his long-gone uncle came and explained to him about when this ability originated and offered some past experience of his. Acquiring this ability, Paul eventually found himself dismal and lost later. After thirty years later, his far cousin Susan and her grandfather - Paul's cousin - gave their opinion on the ability of fading.
We, in our daily lives, would sometimes wonder if we acquired such and such supernatural powers, and what we would do with such and such powers. The truth is, when we actually get these powers, the vicious minds of ours would emerge and the world would fall into chaos. The book Fade pointed this out clearly. Susan and her grandfather's views on the power of fading are also reflected in this world. To believe or not believe, I think the characters in us would interfere this issue. Just like Susan's grandfather, being a detective had surely shaped him into a more logical person. This book Fade stated many situations and thoughts encountered either spiritually physically in our lives and personally I think it's a must for every reader.
The author Robert Cormier has also written some well received books such as the Chocolate War, which both my friends and I found pretty interesting, and if some of you have read it, you would not be disappointed with this fascinating book of his - Fade.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing,
Robert Cormier's unique knack for capturing the turmoil of adolescence (and to a lesser extent adulthood) with a haunting sense of melancholy is displayed perfectly in this beautiful novel.
The book focuses on Paul, a boy who discovers he can "fade," or become invisible; a gift inherited from his uncle and passed on to Paul's future nephew. Paul sees it as a useful feature, but the things he sees while in the Fade shock and disturb him, alienating his from his friends, causing him to view the world in a different way. The bits narrated by Sally, the interlude by Paul's cousin, and the Olly section at the end are all well done and spice up the plot, but it's Paul's narration that I find most fascinating.
The author hasn't written a fantasy novel, he uses the fade to expand the idea of coming to terms with change and the pain suffered because of this supernatural ability. Just as Cormier exaggerated the search for identity in I Am The Cheese, he seems to use the fade as a metaphor for growing up. The initial delight, the confusion and disgust towards the things that corrupt innocent eyes, the weary character that emerges... all seem to link to the author's recurring theme of adolescence.
As usual, the characters conjured up are memorable and unique, and I love the way Paul's cousin casts them in different lights and adds a new dimension, challenging us to choose who we believe.
Aside from Paul, Olly is probably the boy that I remember most vividly; Paul's nephew who inherited the fade. Unwanted, he goes through life lonely and rejected, loved only by the nun that takes pity on him. When he discovers his ability to Fade, he sees it as a great tool and a secret only he knows, but soon becomes paranoid that people know about "his secret" and plan to conspire against him. His conscience wrestles with the voice inside his head, encouraging him to kill the few people who take an interest in his sorry life.
Haunting, gorgeous... All in all, a perfect book. Well worth your time and money.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not every gift should be accepted,
When the average person thinks about 'super-powers', what likely comes to mind is the usual conglomeration of superhero comic books, cartoons, movies, and television shows; a muscular gentleman in tights and a cape, not unlike a professional wrestler. But far more intriguing, and satisfying, are the more literal takes on the theme, whereby ordinary people react in a realistic manner to powers they have no possibility of comprehending. I think of novels such as Stephen King's THE DEAD ZONE (telekinesis), Paul Auster's MR. VERTIGO (levitation), and Jim Munroe's FLYBOY ACTION FIGURE COMES WITH GASMASK (transmogrification), or the Bruce Willis/Samuel L. Jackson movie UNBREAKABLE; examples of day-to-day people struck down by the impossible. Into this more rarefied genre enters a sterling example of the hazzards of the unknown, FADE, by Robert Cormier.
FADE follows the life of Paul Moreaux, a young boy growing up in early 20th century America. His family is constantly struggling with the labour and union problems of the time, and Paul himself has learned from his similarly inflicted uncle that he is cursed with a gift that is not what it seems; Paul has inherited the ability to 'fade', to disappear into nothingness on a whim. While at first appropriately thrilled at the prospect, Paul soon realizes the dilemma that comes with such a gift. His juvenile thrill-seeking leads to discoveries of a sexual nature both exciting and perverse, and deeply unsettling. And as his father becomes enmeshed in the violence of the labour revolts, Paul finds himself compelled to commit an act that will haunt his every move for the rest of his life.
To give away any more of the plot would be to ruin the pleasures that such a novel provides. As Paul's story progresses, it is contrasted with a modern-day account of his life by his niece. Playing the innocence of youth off the wisdom of maturity gives FADE a poignant, and sometimes more horrific edge. Cormier plays his hand close to this chest, never revealing more than the reader needs to know, yet constantly imparting a foreboding sense of unease as the story unfolds. His presentation of Paul's early life, the nature of youth, is both nostalgic and realistic. Paul is just at that age where the seriousness of life has become evident, yet the thoughtlessness and frivolity of immaturity still pulls strong on his psyche. Every person has that one event in their life that separates childhood from adulthood, and it is just Paul's misfortune that 'fading' is his introduction to the complexities of the world. The power of invisibility is never presented as the 'cure-all' that some people would like to believe. It is a power for which there is no practical purpose, yet is a power that can extract a terrible toil upon those unfortunate enough to possess it. Paul's adult persona, after swearing off the use of his fade, learns the perils that such a path provides, as he discovers the next generation of the gift.
Cormier's true gift in this narrative is to never lose sight of the way the world works. A person with a power has to adapt to a world unprepared for such an event. The knowledge of his difference serves to affect his every waking moment; his refusal to travel, or have his picture taken, or even associate beyond his close circle of family and friends. The insular nature of being different is a universal theme that everyone copes with on one level or another. The popular child who realizes that he or she has nothing to offer beyond appearance. The powerful executive who cannot cope with people on a less-than-professional basis. Look at the afflicted Johnny Smith of THE DEAD ZONE, living as a target for every weekly news-rag and sad-sack, because he had the bad idea to go public with his gift. Being different than everyone else leaves you a target for the uninformed, the uncaring, and the ignorant. Cormier knows this, perhaps as a byproduct of all the 'young adult' novels he has written. Everyone has a fear of being different; it's how we handle this fear that helps define who we are.
FADE is a truly fine novel, a memorable exploration of the tried-and-true theme, "With great power comes great responsibility". Paul's life is a testament to this idea, and his failures to fully comprehend this credo leads to some terrible consequences. God forbid someone less able to cope should be afflicted with such a power. As Paul comes to realize, the world itself would never be safe with such a threat.
2.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing,
First, the prurience issue...it's SEXUALLY EXPLICIT... A sexually explicit coming-of-age novel from the eighties. Who'd'a thunk it? And when it comes right down to it, if you really think high school kids haven't already thought about this stuff without having read this book... well, let's put it more simply-- if you're the parent of a high school student who HASN'T thought about all this stuff, you may want to consider getting him this one for Christmas. Sheesh.
Because, when it comes right down to it, the first half of this book reads pretty much exactly like the fantasies of many an adolescent. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, and may even be a good thing, in a novel aimed at adolescents (unless the perspective belongs to the parent of the adolescent, who seems to think that sexual thoughts need to be PUT into someone's head, rather than just growing there on their own as a consequence of begin an adolescent. But that's a topic of discussion for the Dr. Laura list. The rest of you, please, just take my word for it). So I'm willing to allow all the latitude necessary given that I've pretty much forgotten adolescence.
When I start whining about Fade, then, I'm not whining about the explicitness of it. And I'm not whining about Cormier's writing style, for the most part; Fade is miles better than his two overrated teen "classics," the wooden The Chocolate War and the cardboard I Am the Cheese. It really flies, in fact, and ended up being my first single-day read of the year. So what's the whining about? The transparent strategy-changing exactly halfway through the book. One could argue that the plot, as set up at the end of the book, demads the things that happen in the middle (we suddenly have a storyline from 1938 interrupted by a storyline fifty years later, with absolutely no foreshadowing at all). This has been done a million times before, of course. The difference here is that in 99% of those cases, it's been handled better. Also, and perhaps this is a minor point, Cormier sets up a rhythm with his headings, and then breaks it towards the end, leaving the reader somewhat confused and disoriented as to what, exactly, he's trying to do.
The plot is about as complex as a primitive seesaw. Again, this is not a bad thing, and in fact contributes to what strengths the book has. It doesn't need a complex plot to get its point across. The plot being that a certain family, now living in rural Massachusetts (having emigrated from Canada), has one person in every generation capable of fading-- turning himself invisible. This trait passes from uncle to nephew (a never-explained oddity that ends up being a plot point), and has for at least two hundred years (it has been traced back to the mid-1700s). Paul Moreaux/Paul Roget, the book's protagonist, is thirteen in 1938, when he finds out he's the most recent family member to get the fade. His uncle, a drifter, comes back to town to school him in the ways of the fade. Simple, right? And in the correct hands, this tale and its obvious moral (if you spy on people, you're going to be let down by what they do in private-- well, duh) would be a killer. Has been a killer in many cases. But Cormier suddenly felt the need, halfway through his book, to add a number of subplots and complexities that made me want to rip my hair out. To keep playing devil's advocate, after I got used to the fact that we were going to skip around in time, I almost started enjoying the book again. Paul, once grown, has to continue the chain-- he searches for the nephew who's gained the power as well, and finds that one of the clumsiest pieces of foreshadowing ever written has come true. (Believe me, that's not a spoiler-- you'll know it the minute you read it.) And, through the jarring, clumsy mechanisms of the last half of the book, the most-improved-author status still shines, and I kept reading because here's a guy who's writing a good, fun story-- the work of an inspired but truly talented member of the X-Files fan fiction newsgroup is comparable.
And then comes the last paragraph.
I'm not sure I can give this one to you without spoilers. Suffice to say that the mechanism Cormier adopts in the last paragraph has been done by Stephen King a hundred times over a hundred times better. It's something that needs to be plotted all the way through a tale, rather than being a clumsy addition halfway through. (Two words: Springheel Jack.) If I hadn't been on a crowded train when I closed the back cover on this one, I'd have flung it for the last paragraph, if for nothing else. And there's enough else to warrant flinging before, even if there's also enough else to keep one reading up to that horrid last paragraph.
So what does one do with a book like this? One tries to balance everything out and hope for the best.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fade," From the Point of Veiw of a Young Adult,
I am 14, in the eighth grade, and was assighned to read a book by Robert Cormier for my honors english class. I have read "I Am the Cheese," "Tenderness," "In the Middle of the Night," "Frenchtown Summer," "The Bumblebee Flys Anyway," and "The Chocolate War," besides "Fade," the book I decided to do my report on. I thought "Fade" was the most moving book I have ever read by him. I made a link with Paul's desperite feeling of slow isloation, was horrified by Ozzie's horrible acts toward the bum, and definitely identified with Susan's perspective of the book, and what ran through her head when she was reading it. I think it is the best book i have ever read by Cormier. The end of the book had my eyes glued open and my hands clutching the book, along with all sorts of wild thoughts running through my head like, "what if someone really CAN fade? what if i'm not really alone in this room at all?" speaking from the perspective of the age this book was written for, the book "Fade" may start out slow, but it's worth it. Frenchtown and it's people are now real in my mind. In my oppionion, the whole book is a carefully crafted and manuevered masterpeice anyone my age can wonder and connect with. Cormier is the only author I have ever read who can make the most unbelievable, overdone subject in the world breathtakingly real. So if you are thinking of reading or buying the book, I say DO IT! (I dont think adults would appreciate it though, and it would make a wierd gift.) ...
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts out great, gets choppy. Dissapointing for Cormier,
By A Customer
I read this book because it's by Robert Cormier--who generally writes great, psychological novels for young adults. I've read three other of his books, "I am the Cheese", "The Chocolate War", and one other book of his that deals with a hijacked school bus and hostage situation. I enoyed all three of these novels when I was in middle and high school. So I was dissapointed when I read 'Fade'. Being a young _adult_ now, I still found the story to be very cynical and morbid. I liken it to a hokey Stephen King story but not as hackneyed and a bit better done. The story started out okay, and got progressively worse. I guess if your tastes run to the more 'hardened and mature' and dark this book is for you. However, even the story line had a few snags. For a while the story just putters around with a lot of description of a very small, quiet town and the lonely main protaganist. Then it gets choppy with an abrupt change of narration, which I found to be annoying. I'm not sure how this story is supposed to be for young adults (15-17 year age range, right?). If you are a parent or adult relative looking for a book for a teen, do not buy this. There are many better novels, and many other novels that deal with sex, obsession, and murder in a more insightful and meaningful way than this. The ending of the story was cliche and predictable to say the least. The only reason I'm not giving this just one star is because it has a few redeeming qualities. I read the entire thing, so it must not be boring. Even though the atmosphere is decidely 'down' if not downright depressing, I can understand why other reviewers called this novel 'sensitive'. It doesn't glorify violence or sex and does deal with desire and in a larger sense with humanity and what makes us human (or inhuman) I would not recommend this book to anyone. If you buy a Cormier book, try 'The Chocolate War' instead.
4.0 out of 5 stars For young adults? For anyone who likes a good story!,
By A Customer
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a lot of fun. The main character was extremely interesting, and the things he saw and felt were very gripping. He seems to be a good, innocent person, and then he discovers certain traits/qualities in others (while he's invisible, lurking around) that leave him disillusioned, and somewhat frightened. He's very easy to relate to--a wonderful character. The book goes a bit astray by the end. Some of it seems a little too weird and the story would probably be better if it was left out, but it's still a great read (one of those where you can't wait to pick it up again--in fact, it's one of those rare books where you wish it was longer!), and it still ends in a way that won't make you *dis*like the book. Check it out. Oh, by the way--don't let the "reading level: young adults" scare you away. The main character is a "young adult" for a lot of the story, so of course some "young adult" themes are there, but it's not a kids' story, by any means. I feel the same way about Cormier's great novel, _The Chocolate War_. It's also labeled as a "young adult" book. It too deals with teens, but it uses characters of that age-group to tap into universal themes. Sure, these books aren't terribly complex or anything, but an adult of any age would probably enjoy them (if you'd enjoy this type of thing in the first place). Teens (intelligent, mature teens, mind you :) might be able to relate to some things in _Fade_ better than others, but again, the themes are universal, for all age groups (except old people--they'd be offended by some of it. :)
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift can be both good and bad,
Cormier's Fade is an exciting book to read. There are three stories and three main characters. The author shows how Paul and Ozzie use and misuse this gift. When Paul realizes that this gift can be dangerous, he disappears into his writing, and in his own way tries to make the world a better place to live. Ozzie on the other hand, misuses his gift, and becomes a demented character. The author offers sympathy for all of his characters. In this book when one mystery is solved another pops up. The book is both fun and may be scarey for some to read. I liked the book, and would recommend it highly. There are many themes throughut the book. The author illustrates the importance of family and how a loving family influences Paul. He also shows how a disfunctional family influences Ozzie and how Ozzie grows up hating society. The ending is both surprising and sad. This is a great and wonderful book to read.
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Fade by Robert Cormier (Paperback - Sept. 14 2004)
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