We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
I Am the Cheese

I Am the Cheese


by Robert Cormier

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(4) Base Camp

In I Am the Cheese, Robert Cormier challenges us with a handful of big words: claustrophobic (1.4), camaraderie (8.22), raucous (18.15). Oh, and Massachusetts (1.1). But a quick glance at the dictionary and a good sense of context allow us to figure those out.

What really makes this book difficult is its ambiguity: we're never really sure what's going on. And if you're waiting for the ending to clear things up, don't hold your breath. While there are a few "aha!" moments along the way, the second-to-last chapter is far from clear – even Shmoop had to read it a few times before the light bulb went on.

Why did we say the second-to-last chapter, not the last? That brings us to our next why-it's-so-tough point: the book has a double narrative – two stories are being told at the same time in alternating chapters.

All that said, I Am the Cheese is worth the mental pushups, and the writing style is clear and concise, helping balance out the complicated plot.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...