The Night Bookmobile - Get out of my house!

The Night Bookmobile - Audrey Niffenegger

A week after reading this book and I still don't know what I want to say. At times I was greatly moved and wanted to rush out to find my own bookmobile. At other times though, I was very disappointed and almost stopped reading. All of this in a short graphic novel that took me no more then thirty minutes to read.


You have my attention Ms. Niffenegger.


Alexandra stumbles upon an Winnebago one night and her life is never the same. She meets an old man named Mr. Openshaw who informs her this is the Night Bookmobile. It's "bigger on the inside" and within she finds books from various libraries as well as personal books. She's read every one; this is her library. It's soon gone and she can't find it. Alexandra beings to read "for two," her and the librarian who's cataloging her collection. It comes when she least expects it and ends up shaping her life, not always in a good way.


The idea of the Night Bookmobile was incredible. My mind was blown away with the idea of a bookmobile out there with every book I've read. I could almost walk down the halls in my mind and see the books I've read throughout my life. Running your finger along them as the memories rush forward, I could completely fall in love with this.


I liked Alexandra, she was human; making bad decisions and good decisions. When she became a librarian, I cheered.


Until the last six pages, I basically loved it and wanted to run away with it.


Then the next page caught me with a sucker-punch to the stomach. My arguments are not going to make much sense without the next part of I'll spoiler-tag it if you really don't want to know.

Alexandra commits suicide because...reasons (?) and ends up in The Library. There are no Readers here, only LIbrarians. She's "got want she wanted" but loses her personal library - only the living get them apparently - and so she is assigned to a young girl who's just read her first book.

(show spoiler)




I almost threw the book across the room. And poor LL got to hear three days of rants concerning this book. The event came totally out of left field and seems to be there for two reasons: the story was getting long and needed to be wrapped up and, maybe, to make the story "deep". All it ended up doing was making it feel rushed, completely against the rest of the story, and - IMO - ruining what could have been a marvelous story. Maybe the author was writing a cautionary tale, too much of a love of books can be bad for you. I find this unlikely and, if so, ludicrous as all the pages previously had been all but a love song for books. The change gives you whip-lash and you'd almost believe the parts were for different books. Or maybe it's suppose to be a Space Whale Aesop. The afterword did little to further understanding and I'm left feeling angry, confused, and slightly betrayed.


One thing for sure, this won't be on my bookshelves and I wish I could remove it from my Night Bookmobile.


Note: Also, talk about false advertising. Neil Gaiman has a great blurb on the back talking about how amazing it is. I basically agree with none of it! First time I've disagreed with him so much about a book recommendation.