Tuesday, May 6, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Casebook by Mona Simpson

Title: Casebook
Author: Mona Simpson
Genre: Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: April 15/2014
Acquired:  E-copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

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.


Casebook was what I would label as: disjointed. It was a stream-of-consciousness style of narrative that just didn't reside with me. There were moments when I thought the thread I was following would lead me somewhere, and then it would end abruptly, and change course mid-sentence. Or so it seemed to me. My inability to follow along with it, surely doesn't mean OTHERS won't be able to, but unfortunately, I couldn't keep Casebook in my head long enough to full enjoy it.

What begins as an innocent attempt to learn more about Survivor, young Miles, aided by his best friend Hector, rigs make-shift spy 'equipment' in his home, in order to eavesdrop on his parents, but more particularly, his mother. He only sets out to learn enough about the show, so that he can discuss it with kids at school, but he soon discovers that his mother has more pressing issues to vent about. He overhears the tail end of his parents frustrations with the other, which then swiftly leads to every child's worst nightmare: divorce. Now he has two homes, and his parents have wasted little time in finding replacements for each other. Eli is the new presence in his mother's life..but can he be trusted? Miles and Hector seem to think not, and the pair embark on a sleuthing journey like no other, to find out exactly what it is Eli is all about. In the end, what will Miles discover? About not only the loved ones in his life, but more importantly, about himself?

Casebook is essentially a story within a story, as the book is made to read through the eyes of Miles' best friend, Hector. Who has re-written it, and added his own footnotes along the way. It was such, that ideas seem to pop out of no where, and names were thrown around in all of it's forms. Miles kept a long list of nicknames for almost every person he came across, family included. Needless to say, things got confusing, very quickly. I was never sure who he was referring to, and there were many times when I struggled to figure out WHAT exactly, was being discussed-Miles seemed to have the attention span of..well..a normal 10-year-old boy. Which was also unrealistic at the same time, in the sense that both Miles and Hector had some very mature things to say sometimes: about sex, grown-ups, in-laws. There was a comment Miles made to his mother about Eli's deceased mother, exclaiming that "well, at least there's no mother-in-law!"...to deal with, clearly. But what would a 10-year-old boy who's had no real-life experience with mother-in-laws, know about the joy of not having one to deal with? It just didn't make any sense.

I simply couldn't connect to the unfolding plot line in Casebook, nor feel any real emotion for it's characters. However, the deeper themes of this novel were fantastic, as they dealt with the strong connection children have to their parents, and their need, at such a young age, to see that their loved ones were happy. Or, in Miles' case, that his mother was happy. That fact definitely hit home for me, as did so many other truths about a divorced child's life. My own parents got divorced when I was just 2 years-old. I kept hoping that, that fact alone would root my heart to the pages, but it didn't, not completely, and I finished the book feeling rather disappointed.

Maybe there's a connection within Casebook for YOU.

Recommended for fans of: Contemporary, Mystery, coming-of-age fiction, Mark Haddon.



Read all about Mona on her Goodreads author page HERE.

Contact Links


Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Knopf (Random House) for sending me an e-copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour


  1. Ouch! Sorry you didn't enjoy this one. It's actually new to me and the blurb does seem interesting.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.


Comment love is always appreciated! =)
I will always try my best to comment back!