Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mobile Liberary

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
It is no accident that this cast is reminiscent of characters from a fairy tale.  Unfortunately, that resemblance is primarily because they have about as much emotional depth as characters found in a Brothers Grimm tale.  The only ones of them that even approached feeling real in print are the young mother and her beautiful little girl.  The rest of them are better suited to a comic book setting.

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.


  1. What a shame it turned out to be disappointing. Thanks for the warning. I'll sure to pass this book by

    1. I probably got my hopes too high for it because it seemed to have so much going for it: books, England/Scotland setting, high recommendation from a friend, etc. Just didn't work for me.