Title: Bob the Book
Author: David Pratt
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions
Pages/Word Count: 202 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Just what is a ‘gay book’? – A book attracted to books of the same gender! Meet ‘Bob the Book,’ a gay book for sale in a Greenwich Village bookstore, where he falls in love with another book, Moishe. But a freak accident separates the young lovers. As Bob wends his way through used book bins, paper bags, knapsacks, and lecture halls, hoping to be reunited with Moishe, he meets a variety of characters, both book and human, including Angela, a widowed copy of Jane Austen’s ‘Mansfield Park’ and two other separated lovers, Neil and Jerry, near victims of a book burning. Among their owners and readers are Alfred and Duane, whose on-again, off-again relationship unites and separates our book friends. Will Bob find Moishe? Will Jerry and Neil be reunited? Will Alfred and Duane make it work? Read ‘Bob the Book’ to find all the answers.
Review: Reading David Pratt’s Bob the Book on my Kindle felt a bit like sacrilege. There was just something that felt wrong about reading a book about books–of the paper and ink variety, that is–on an electronic reader, something that made me want to go gather all my print books to my bosom and hug them for all their wonder and the things that make them what Stephen King calls uniquely portable magic–the smell of the paper and ink, and the tactile pleasure of which our newfangled pixels and e-ink technology is bereft.
Bob the Book is constructed of one of the most original premises I’ve ever come across in adult fiction, LGBT or otherwise. Bob, as you’ve already surmised from his rather forthcoming title, is a book. But, Bob isn’t just any book. Bob is a gay book who falls in love with Moishe, another gay book. How do books fall in love, you may wonder? You need only read Mr. Pratt’s perfectly plausible–work with me, here–and utterly romantic novel to discover how. If you’ve ever before doubted that our literary friends, whose words give us hours of pleasure, have a heart and soul, prepare for your perspective to undertake a major shift after spending time with Bob and all the other books he introduces us to on his jouney from store shelf to used book market to all the stops he makes along the way to finding a permanent home. All you need do is believe.
The burden of being a book is evident in this delightful and most heartfelt tale. Not only must books engage and entertain us, educate and inform us, but they then must live up to our scrutiny, our prejudice, bow to our every whim. We are the masters and mistresses of every book’s destiny, and we are the harshest determiners of their Fates. David Pratt has anthropomorphized our beloved tomes, gifted them with the ability to communicate with each other, to feel an entire range of human emotions, and infused them with some of the best and worst of human behaviors–jealousy, bitterness, pomposity, prejudice. But, he has also offered them the ability to love and to be loved in return, and this is what thoroughly charms the reader through each and every one of Bob’s pages.
Lest you think this is a story only about books, however, allow me to correct that misperception. Bob the Book also introduces a host of human characters to the plot, some of whom play prominently as parallel victims of love’s capricious nature, and to the struggles, trials and tribulations of finding that special someone with whom to share a life. Friends and roommates, Alfred and Ron, were prominent in my affection as I wished for them to find happiness. Owen, the man who has been looking for love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways, gives the book a frightening moment and a reason to empathize with his “down with love” attitude.
It is the books, though, all of them, that orchestrate this story, from Bob to Moishe to Neil–who stole my heart–to Jerry, Luke, and Angela, these books do exactly what we expect a book to do: engage and entertain, educate and inform. Whether it be a book that chronicles the history and social impact of gay pornography, a scholalrly text on religion and homosexuality, a book of love poems, or a classic bit of literature, every book deserves respect because every book means something to someone, even if that someone is another book. Bob the Book is a celebration of the one thing we all have in common, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality–we all love our books, and I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
You can buy Bob the Book here: