2015 Book Reviews David Whitehouse My 2015 Favourite Reads Picador
Mobile Library by David Whitehouse
Blurb: Twelve-year-old Bobby Nusku is an archivist of his mother. He catalogues traces of her life and waits for her to return home.
Bobby thinks that he's been left to face the world alone until he meets lonely single mother Val and her daughter Rosa. They spend a magical summer together, discovering the books in the mobile library where Val works as a cleaner. But as the summer draws to a close, Bobby finds himself in trouble and Val is in danger of losing her job. There's only one thing to do -- and so they take to the road in the mobile library...
Quirky, dark, magical and full of heart, Mobile Library is both a tragicomic road trip and a celebration of the adventures that books can take us on. It's a love-letter to unlikely families and the stories that shaped us.
*First of all I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Review: Mobile Library is probably going to be on my top 2015 reads. I hadn't read Bed, David Whitehouse's debut, so I started Mobile Library with no clues about his style or narrative. Imagine my surprise when the book started with a chapter called The End. Weirdly enough it was the perfect beginning to this contemporary fairy tale. Just reading those first pages, I was completely invested with the story.
After The End, we go back in time to get acquired with the quirky characters of this book. There's little Bobby whose mother has left him with a not-caring father who ignores him. So he has decided to keep everything he finds and learns on files so he can show his mother when she's back. He has not a lot of friends and is teased and abused in school so his best friend decides to turn himself into a cyborg to protect him. A real lesson about friendship, although the result is not the expected and Bobby finds himself alone again. Then's when we meet Rosa, my favourite character in the story. She always speaks the truth and her honest comments and actions were incredible insightful. She and her mother become the family Bobby no longer has and their love for each other grows with every page.
The story is told through different points of view so he get to read about Bobby's feelings, Rosa's thoughts and even about the frustrations of the detective who is in charge of finding the elusive Mobile Library. I think this was very clever as it made me feel part of the story and had me glued to its pages from cover to cover.
But what makes this novel so special and unique, apart from its characters, is the love for books you can feel through the story. With references to some of my own children favourites like The Little Prince, Huckelberry Finn or Harry Potter and also to some great classics like Moby Dick, The Secret Garden or Of Mice and Men, Mobile Library is an ode to books and reading. I am sure that any book lover is going to love it.
David Whitehouse takes us on a magic road trip on a mobile library. The story is beautifully written with a unique narrative and a mixture of adventure, fantasy, love and friendship but also with some darker details. A real gem of a book, I highly recommend it.