June 12, 2013

Spotlight on: The Book by Jessica Bell

The Book by Jessica Bell
Publication date: January 18th 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary (Novella)

This book is not The Book. The Book is in this book. And The Book in this book is both the goodie and the baddie.

Bonnie is five. She wants to bury The Book because it is a demon that should go to hell. Penny, Bonnie’s mother, does bury The Book, but every day she digs it up and writes in it. John, Bonnie’s father, doesn’t live with them anymore. But he still likes to write in it from time to time. Ted, Bonnie’s stepfather, would like to write in The Book, but Penny won’t allow it.

To Bonnie, The Book is sadness.
To Penny, The Book is liberation.
To John, The Book is forgiveness.
To Ted, The Book is envy.
But The Book in this book isn’t what it seems at all.

If there was one thing in this world you wished you could hold in your hand, what would it be? The world bets it would be The Book.
The BookThe Book by Jessica Bell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For a novella, this one certainly packed a punch. There was a lot of story packed into 97 pages - but in a good way! It didn't feel rushed or hurried. I think that a lot of that had to do with the format. Most of the story was written as diary entries from Bonnie's mom and dad, with the remainder being internal dialogue and interactions with Bonnie herself, and transcribed sessions between Bonnie and her therapist. It sounds a little confusing, but it all worked together really well to give a rounded view of the story.

"The Book" in The Book is actually a diary/memory book that Bonnie's mom and dad started writing in before Bonnie was born. It was sort of like a baby book or journal for them to write down milestones and observations about Bonnie through her childhood and as she got older. The plan was to give her the book when she was old enough to appreciate what was in it. However, the purpose of "the book" changed when Bonnie's mom and dad got divorced.

The Book deals with some heavy issues, and is surprisingly insightful into the workings of a marriage and into the relationship between a mom and her child. Most of the journal entries that Penny writes to Bonnie strike a chord of truthfulness and honesty that will resonate for all mothers who read it. It is also interesting to read the story from Bonnie's five-year old perspective, and realize that little ones see and hear way more than parents think that they do. My only problem with the chapters in Bonnie's voice was the baby talk, and mispronounced and misspelled words. For me, it wasn't necessary to incorporate that for me to feel like I was in Bonnie's head. The observations and conversations that she had were already done well enough that all of that wasn't needed.

The end of this story will bring you to tears - especially if you are a parent. It ends with a twist that I didn't see coming. It was very shocking. I definitely recommend this novella if you are looking for a quick read that is done a little bit differently from the norm.

View all my reviews

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written. Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. For more information, please visit her website: www.jessicabellauthor.com



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