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Book Review and Giveaway – Casebook by Mona Simpson

Synopsis:  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.

First Line:  The book you now hold in your hands is our first venture into the old long-form technology that our pay-to-print machine in the back room has made possible.

Random Quote:  In the morning, there was a new Albert quote on the blackboard:  A TABLE, A CHAIR, A BOWL OF FRUIT, AND A VIOLIN; WHAT ELSE DOES A MAN NEED TO BE HAPPY?

Not to contradict a genius, but I could think of plenty else.

Review:  I loved this book in ways I didn’t expect – perhaps because it reminded me of so many things I loved when I was a kid.  Harriet the Spy, for instance – I read that book over and over again because I loved the idea of looking into windows, of observing people in the neighborhood and the world and trying to figure out things about them – all kids are snoops, right?  It made me think of hanging around on the upstairs landing when my parents had a dinner party and after I was supposed to go to bed – just listening to the adults.  I never wanted to go to bed because I was positive I’d miss something.

Our hero, Miles, and his friend, Hector, spy on and listen in to Miles’ divorcing parents.  They snoop their computers, their phone calls, try to figure out things about the new boyfriend (who seems very suspicious to them).  Much of what they learn is confusing and a bit scary – what do they do with their suspicions?  What is this adult world all about?  Will Hector’s mother be okay?

Ms. Simpson captures the confusion and glamour of kids just learning about the grown-up world and trying to fit together the pieces.  Moving and profound, Casebook offers a glimpse into a family coming apart and changing through the eyes of a very smart and cool kid who just wants to understand.  Highly recommended.

I am very pleased to be part of Ms. Simpson’s virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours.  Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more reviews, giveaways, and thoughts on this wonderful book.  Scroll down for a chance to win one (1) copy of this book and stay tuned tomorrow for a guest post from Ms. Simpson!

FTC Disclosure:  Advance copy for review as part of the author’s TLC Book Tour

Publishing Information:  Knopf – April 15, 2014

Format:  Kindle


About Mona Simpson

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 Writers Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Writers Award, and, recently an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Connect with Mona on Facebook.

Mona Simpsons 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:  Svetlanas Reads and Views
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Anita Loves Books
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Guiltless Reading – guest post A Rejection
Thursday, April 24th:  Lit and Life
Friday, April 25th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Saturday, April 26th:  Chaotic Compendiums –  guest post How I Found My POV
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:  Booksies Blog
Thursday, May 1st:  Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, May 2nd:  Missris
Monday, May 5th:  Bibliophiliac
Tuesday, May 6th:  Bound by Words
Tuesday, May 6th:  Mandy Boles Life Between Books
Wednesday, May 7th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, May 8th:  BookNAround
Friday, May 9th:  In Bed With Books

Enter to win one (1) copy of Casebook by Mona Simpson.  US and Canada only.  No PO boxes, please.  Winners announced May 4, 2014.

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