Audrey Niffenegger, the best selling author of the beloved The Time Traveler’s Wife, indulges her dreams as a teenager with The Night Bookmobile a graphic novel both written by and drawn by Niffenegger.
The Night Bookmobile
by Audrey Niffenegger
Like all good stories of love and lust, this one starts with a fight. Lexi, our narrator and main character, is out walking late at night after an argument with her boyfriend Richard when she happens on a Winnebago blaring Bob Marley. The door is open. She glances inside to find a librarian sitting at the wheel inviting her to view the collection of books. The collection is every book that Lexi has ever read – novels, school books, even her diary. After reading for most of the night, Lexi takes her leave promising to come back. When she does come back the next night she finds the bookmobile missing.
Lexi’s search for the bookmobile continues for years; her obsession with the books she is reading (and thus adding to the collection) knows no bounds. By the time she finds the bookmobile again – or perhaps by the time it finds her again – she is alone and consumed with reading. This cycle is repeated as we find Lexi pulled further and further away from the world and more and more into her lust for books.
I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I was surprised and disappointed. After reading the Afterword the ending makes a little more sense. Lexi’s obsession with books should be read as a cautionary tale of lusts and addiction gone awry. However, since Niffenegger ends the book on such a positive note she seems to undermine that moral leaving the reader with an almost too positive outlook on obsession: obsession as an ultimate reward in itself.
There is no doubt, regardless of the ending, that this graphic novel is very well done. Niffenegger’s stilted, put-upon amateur art style is perfect for this story. The art clearly conveys feeling and setting without overwhelming the story. Unlike so many graphic novels today, this book remains story driven and the art serves the story. This is not about splash pages and action shots. This is about emotion and a woman driven.
A stellar artistic debut from the best selling author. I look forward to the next one.
Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on current events and Christianity.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.