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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“The book has demons and has to go to the devil.” Bonnie is determined to bury the book. Penny ensures her young daughter that it’s a token of love and affection and that one day she will understand. However, Bonnie is convinced it does nothing but inflict pain on the people she loves. She wonders how grownups can be so stupid and not see what she sees. Then again, she know she’s just a child and does not understand most things about life. Grownups “smile when they’re sad and they cry when they’re happy. It’s silly.” The road to Hell is paved with the best of intentions. A book that was created out of love develops into a representation of agony. Her parents write in it. Bonnie tells you how it interferes with her everyday life. Jessica Bell has poetically scripted a love story so genuine and so pure, it could only be told in the innocent perspective of a five-year-old girl. She elegantly builds up an anticipating climax so horrific and yet, so authentic, it’ll captivate you. I guarantee after reading THE BOOK, the story will linger in your mind long after you've finished.
When the chance came to review another of Jessica Bell's books, I jumped at it. I loved her writing exercise and instruction book: Show & Tell in a Nutshell! This novella, The Book, caught my attention immediately--mostly because of the different formats--journal entries, doctor/patient transcripts, and narrative in a child's voice. It doesn’t take a tome of 500 pages to tell a powerful, gripping and captivating story. Jessica has managed to do this in less than 150 pages in The Book. Jessica, also an author of poetry and nonfiction, takes on a unique voice for one of the narrators of her book—a five-year-old child, Bonnie; she truly captivates this voice, taking the reader through the story of the girl’s estranged parents and herself trying to figure out her young and confusing life full of adults always acting strangely. The title comes from a book, which most would call a journal or diary, that Bonnie’s parents started writing in before she was even born. John, her father, has the idea to write special messages to his daughter and to give “The Book” to her when she is older. Penny, her mother, is the one who actually writes in it more, and eventually it becomes a diary for her mother, more than a message for the daughter. The Book is divided into three parts: “Love is the Beginning,” “Love is a Weapon,” and “Love is Tangible.” In each part, Penny or John tell their side of the story and their feelings through their writings in “The Book”; Bonnie adds to the story through her narration for the reader; and transcripts of Bonnie speaking to a psychiatrist, Dr. Wright, are also included. All of these parts and various techniques work together to complete the story of Bonnie and her parents. The reader learns that John and Penny don’t stay together after Bonnie’s born, and Penny starts a new relationship with Ted—who has a temper with a violent side. Bonnie explains to the reader what she sees going on in the lives of the adults around her, from her dad’s new family to her mom’s emotional side to “my Ted’s” outbursts. Bonnie sees the biggest problem as “The Book.” She thinks it is what causes the difficulties in her life and the lives of her loved ones. She wants to destroy it and is just waiting for the chance to get it away from her mother and make everything better for eve What Jessica does so well in this short novel is take on the different voices of the characters—readers will be able to hear the child trying to figure out her world in Bonnie’s narrative, while sympathizing with John and Penny who aren’t sure if they made the right choice to split apart. When Jessica writes as John in “The Book,” he has a distinct way of writing, which is different than Penny—this distinction and technique with voice are the marks of a talented writer. The ending is shocking and can be somewhat disturbing, but it’s realistic, heartfelt, and certainly satisfying after spending several hours getting to know the characters in The Book. The Book is a fast read, but one that you will want to read again. The characters are complex, which makes the story memorable, and a great one to discuss in a book club.