The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

night-bookmobileCindy: I stumbled upon this adult graphic novel while on a recent buying spree to boost the profit margin at my local independent bookseller. What a find. The Night Bookmobile (Abrams 2010) is a first person story about a young woman who is out for a very late night walk when she sees an big road-weary Winnebago with Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” booming out from the doors. The driver/librarian welcomes her aboard where she finds a very strange bookmobile collection. The first shelves are filled with familiar children’s books, but then as she walks down the aisle she realizes that ALL of the books are familiar…this is a bookmobile filled with a library of everything she’s ever read or listened to. Even her diary is there…

Returning home later her boyfriend thinks she is lying about where she’s been but she is driven to find the night bookmobile again. It takes years, but she is possessed. The story gets stranger and stranger, but I’ll let you discover that on your own. The setting is Chicago and the “After Words” gives credit to inspiration from “The Door in the Wall,” a short story by H. G. Wells. Teens who are avid readers will be drawn to this haunting story, a cautionary tale of sorts, about not letting our obsessions get the best of us. Is it possible to love reading too much? I never thought so, but….perhaps.

Lynn: For me this fascinatingly weird little book is like a piece of really good chocolate.  Read it and enjoy it but don’t think about it too much.  Most of us would agree about the issue of obsession, any obsession, being a problem. Yeah – I get that but the heroine of this cautionary tale only finds true happiness in a pretty strange way.  Hmmm.  It’s a cool vision of heaven though!

But enough nit-picking.  This is one cool and eerie book.  The illustrations are full of intriguing details – and compulsive readers like me will find lots of smile-inducing details like the shelf of the narrator’s childhood books.  I loved the old-library palette and who can resist a bookmobile in a battered Winnebago?  But reading too much as a problem? – hey I’m just saying, that’s not possible 😉



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger"

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  1. I read this one and loved it but also agree it’s an odd little book. I mean, a book with a warning about not loving books? It’s too much to think about and I just had to read it without being picky about things. I do agree it’s a cool vision of heaven!

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