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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Review: Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema


I should always review a book right after I finish it. In the case of Robert J. Wiersema’s Bedtime Story, I wrapped it up in late November on a late, late night of reading. I couldn’t put down Bedtime Story and I recall closing the book and saying “wow.”

Now, why was it so awesome? I should have taken notes, but I didn’t so all we have is my faulty memory and an email I wrote to Rob after finishing the book. Let’s piece it together.

Structurally, there are 3 stories going on. I found this a bit weird at first. The first chapter introduces one boy and his family, the next chapter introduces another boy and his family, then a couple chapters later boy 2 starts reading a novel about another boy. What happened to the first boy? Good question—and one that is ultimately part of the mystery unfolding. Am I’m making it sound more confusing than it is?

Boy 2 is David, who is reading about Boy 3, who is named Davfd.

Boy 2 and 3 are essentially the same boy, living in different times. The book David is reading is a trap, a magical trap for little boys. David, like the boy before him, has a seizure that pulls him into the storybook, leaving his body functional in the real world but without spirit.

As I read Bedtime Story, I wondered about the mastery of storytelling and a storyteller’s ability to pull you into the narrative. I starting thinking about the length of Davfd’s sections and how frequently they occurred in the narrative. I noticed that before David’s seizure, I was really pulled into Davfd’s section of the novel. It seemed like there was a period of greater attention on that story. Like David, I was sucked into the story of Davfd. But then after David’s seizure, I felt more in David’s father’s world as he tried to sort out the cause of David’s seizures.

Robert’s latest novel is like the confluence of two rivers. The storylines run together in the most fascinating way. I still remember it as “wow.”

Thankfully Pickle Me This finished the book around the same time I did and wrote an excellent review.

Bedtime Story by Robert J. Wiersema
Published by Random House

(Robert J Wiersema’s is also the author of Before I Wake.)

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