Title: The Night Bookmobile
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Abrams ComicArts
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: 3 out of 5
Alexandra is a night owl who loves to walk the streets of Chicago. One night after a fight with her boyfriend, Alexandra is walking and comes across a bookmobile. But this isn’t just any bookmobile – it’s her own personal library, containing every book she’s ever read, and only those books. After that night, Alexandra searches for the bookmobile, but it is years before she sees it again.
When The Night Bookmobile was first released, I thought it was a children’s picture book – after all, it is very short and the long, rectangular cover is reminiscent of that genre. However, I started hearing about it on Twitter, and the rave reviews made me realize it was a graphic novel. I was immediately intrigued and knew I wanted to read it.
I enjoyed the spooky nature of The Night Bookmobile. There were questions running throughout the book of how the bookmobile operated, how it knew exactly what Alexandra had read, down to the edition. I also loved the overall message to the story, the tribute to the power of books and homage to libraries.
However, this is an Audrey Niffenegger novella, so of course, there is a darker theme running through the story. Alexandra lets go of the people around her and becomes obsessed with finding the bookmobile. The dangers of obsession are well-chronicled here, especially in the shocking conclusion to the book. I really disliked the ending when I first read it, unsure of what the message was, but when I discovered that this is the first in a series, it made a little more sense. Still, I am ambivalent about that final twist, though I will definitely be reading future books if Niffenegger chooses to release them.
The Night Bookmobile was an interesting story, but I would have loved for it to have been longer. As it is right now, it has trouble standing on its own two feet, as I feel like it isn’t really complete. I seem to disagree with the general sentiment about this book, as most people I’ve come across absolutely love it. I appreciated its potential and love the ode to books, but that shocking final twist still doesn’t sit well with me – hopefully future installments will change that!