Tuesday, April 22, 2014

G285 Book Review of Casebook by Mona Simpson

Name of Book: Casebook

Author: Mona Simpson

ISBN: 9780385351416

Publisher: Knopf

Type of book: Spying, divorces, secrets, mystery, friendship, growing up, undecided, wealth, money, figuring out the truth, hidden things

Year it was published: 2014


From the acclaimed and award-winning author: a beguiling new novel about an eavesdropping boy working to discover the obscure mysteries of his unraveling family. He uncovers instead what he least wants to know: the workings of his parents' private lives. And even then he can't stop snooping.

Miles Adler-Rich, helped by his friend Hector, spies and listens in on his separating parents. Both boys are in thrall to Miles's unsuspecting mother, Irene, who is "pretty for a mathematician." They rifle through her dresser drawers and strip-mine her computer diary, finding that all leads pull them straight into her bedroom, and into questions about a stranger from Washington, D.C., who weaves in and out of their lives. Their amateur detective work starts innocently but soon takes them to the far reaches of adult privacy as they acquire knowledge that will affect the family's well-being, prosperity, and sanity. Once burdened with this powerful information, the boys struggle to deal with the existence of evil, and proceed to concoct hilarious modes of revenge on their villains and eventually, haltingly, learn to offer animal comfort to those harmed and to create an imaginative path to their own salvation.


Okay, let's see if I can do the characters. First there's the main character named Miles whom I didn't like. He's fond of nicknaming almost everyone, and he's uncertain of his sexual identity. He also spies with his friend Hector and apparently his hunches and ideas are correct. There is Miles's mom Irene, whom he'll call Mims for the rest of the book. She's a mathematician who is also uncertain of herself and allows for men to take advantage of her. For me she's a cold person as well as very strict. Eli is Irene's boyfriend who has an interesting past when it comes to his previous marriage and so forth. He is also nerdy, makes promises he can't keep and is also a mathematician. The other characters are there just to be there.


When one spies, one learns more than they need to.


Its written in first person narrative from Miles's point of view. I enjoyed the writing style, but I didn't enjoy the characters or anything else about it. The subplots and so forth are too many, and it was hard for me to keep up with what's going on. I think the author also expected the reader to read the book in one sitting instead of multiple ones, and while I do sense talent within the book, there was too much going on. Also, despite the cover, its a pretty depressing book in my opinion.

Author Information:
(From TLC)

Mona Simpson is the author of Anywhere But HereThe Lost FatherA Regular GuyOff Keck Road, and My HollywoodOff Keck Road was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the Heartland Prize of the Chicago Tribune. She has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, and, recently an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Connect with Mona on Facebook.


This is a strong case of don't judge the book by its cover or summary. From all the hype, I seriously had an idea that I would be reading an entertaining book about mishaps that Miles experiences when he begins to spy on his mom. Instead, despite the cover and summary, I found it to be a frustrating read where it became a chore. Also from the book, I imagine that many people will think this is something kids will enjoy, but I will warn that due to some strong language as well as sexual situations, this isn't a book for kids. The writing was enjoyable and Miles was memorable, but what frustrated me the most are the real names and nicknames. First of all, what's the point of calling their mother "mims"? Or why call the twin sisters Boops One and Two instead of their real names? And perhaps hints of time passing before beginning chapters would have been nice. I had trouble figuring out how many years have passed or how old the twins and Miles were when their mother becomes divorced and when the truth about Eli is revealed. Also, the entire time I laughed when I read the book is when Miles and Hector create their revenge against Eli.

This is for TLC Book Tour

Mona Simpson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, April 14th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, April 15th:  Book Chatter
Tuesday, April 15th:  Guiltless Reading
Wednesday, April 16th:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, April 16th:  5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, April 17th:  Bookchickdi
Friday, April 18th:  She Treads Softly
Monday, April 21st:  Entomology of a Bookworm
Monday, April 21st:  Simply Stacie
Monday, April 21st:  A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Anita Loves Books
Thursday, April 24th:  Lit and Life
Friday, April 25th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Monday, April 28th:  Book-alicious Mama
Monday, April 28th:  Daily Mayo
Tuesday, April 29th:  Love at First Book
Tuesday, April 29th:  Fiction Addict
Wednesday, April 30th:  Bookish Ardour
Wednesday, April 30th:  Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, May 1st:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, May 2nd:  Missris
Monday, May 5th:  Bibliophiliac
Tuesday, May 6th:  Bound by Words
Wednesday, May 7th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, May 8th:  BookNAround
Friday, May 9th:  In Bed With Books
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. Darn, I'm sorry to see that this one didn't really work for you. Thanks for your review for the tour.


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