Monday, January 24, 2011

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

This story is one of the most creative concepts I've ever read - The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a wistful woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing library on wheels that contains every book she has ever read.

Isn't that just the coolest idea?  How I would love to have my own personal library, to be able to review old favorites long forgotten, to wander through my growth and transformation as a reader. 
I turned to the books.  The section I was standing in was full of children's books.  I drifted along, noticing textbooks mingled with pictures books, and an assortment of books you don't usually see in libraries:  family Bibles, photo albums, telephone books.  Some of the books had catalog numbers on their spines, some didn't.  The books weren't arranged by subject, and some of the numbers seemed to belong to different systems.  In fact, the books seemed to belong to many different libraries.
Later in the story, a young library patron begins her own collection.  Holding a copy of Good Night Moon, the librarian says, "She just read this today, all by herself.  It's the first item in her collection."  Doesn't that just make you swoon?  The story also involves a dark twist, reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode. 

Now for the bad news.  Publisher's Weekly described the artwork this way: Niffenegger’s full-color art has a naïve tone, with sometimes stiff figures, and text written in childlike script. The simplicity of the images contrasts with sophisticated page layouts in which she plays with panels and perspective.  That's much more polite than I would have been. I found the drawings, the layout and even the writing, at times, to be very elementary.

I really wish Ms. Niffenegger had abandoned the graphic novel concept and developed this brilliant idea into at least a short story or novella.  I felt cheated to be finished reading in under thirty minutes and still have such a longing for more of the story.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen this reviewed around the blogosphere, but your posts convinced me to put a hold on it at the local library. Who knows how long I will have to wait though....