Review: The Night Bookmobile

The Night Bookmobile
The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I cannot favorably review a book that suggests suicide as a solution to achieve life’s goals. No. Suicide is the ending of life, not the means to a better one.

THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE has all the elements of a book that I would usually love. It’s written by Audrey Niffenegger, who is recognized by her famous book THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. It’s conveyed in a convincing medium. It’s a book about a book lover. Everything is great: except the moral of the story.

The story is about a woman who loves to read books. She happens upon a Winnebago full of books that contain everything she’s read—from the phone book to the book she’s currently reading. She wants to become a librarian for this night bookmobile. She studies and goes to school, eventually becoming a prominent librarian in the Chicago library system. She’s left unsatisfied and unaccomplished, still wishing to work in the Winnebago. She then kills herself: “I found fourteen Valium tablets. I took them, and then slit my wrists, just in case.” The book concludes, not with tragedy, but with great reward.

As for the art of the book—it is so-so. Full of color, yes, but drawn by the hands of an amateur. The faces of Niffenegger’s characters are the most disturbing—they morph into different shapes each frame. The gist is clear though and some pictures, like the big library, are fun to look at.

But everything comes down to that one thing; I cannot support a book that promotes suicide. The protagonist worked incredibly hard to obtain a prominent position (I might question the choice to sacrifice personal relationships—but I’ll let it slide in lieu of the larger issue at hand), but to achieve one’s ultimate goal by ending one’s life is a terrible concept to perpetuate.

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