I don’t know where to start with this one, so I may as well just say it right up front: Mobile Library is one of the more disappointing novels I’ve read in a while. Perhaps that’s because it came so highly recommended from a fellow reader whose judgment I trust. Or maybe it’s because the novel reminds me so much of eating cotton candy at a roadside carnival – all sugar and air, with nothing (including its main characters) of any real substance in the recipe.
The novel’s plot, although it is executed in a manner more suitable to a YA novel than to one aimed at adults, is one with potential. Consider the characters: a boy constantly bullied at school and his more physically imposing friend who vows to protect him by transforming himself into a cyborg; the bullied boy’s abusive father; the little girl (probably a Down’s Syndrome child) the boy meets one day; the little girl’s mother who so appreciates the boy befriending her daughter that she vows to protect him from his father no matter what that costs her; the young man who falls in love with the woman; that young man’s vindictive and crazed elderly father; and, finally, the young policeman charged with the task of rounding them all up.
|Author David Whitehouse|
I do think that, maybe with the exception of a bit of strong language, Mobile Library would be a good read for middle school students – and certainly that the language in it is not so offensive that it could not be read by high school students looking for a modern morality tale.
One final thought: Mobile Library is set in England and Scotland, and David Whitehouse is a British author. However, the author presents his story in so generic a fashion that readers hoping to be immersed in a British setting are likely to be disappointed. Cotton candy, neither the real thing, nor its literary version, much appeal to me these days.