Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review - The Human Bobby: A Novel by Gabe Rotter

Title: The Human Bobby: A Novel
Author: Gabe Rotter
Year: 2010
Page: 320
Genre: Fiction - Literary

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
A page-turning story of the unraveling of one man's seemingly perfect life, and his struggle to get it back.

First Sentence:
There's a staccato clicking sound in my head.

My Thoughts:

  • I have not seen a lot of reviews of this book, but from the few reviews, they all said the same thing - read it! I don't think I had seen a negative review. BermudaOnion's review was one of the first reviews I'd read, see here.
  • Seriously, if I saw this book in the library or book store, I would have NEVER picked it up. Not even to read the back description to see what it was about. Not based on the title. Not based on the cover. Really, if it wasn't for the other bloggers, I would have missed out on this brilliant book. This is such a shame that this book hadn't been given more attention when it came out last year. I had been meaning to read it for a while, but my library did not have it, and I finally found it from an inter-library in the network. After reading the book, the title made sense, but it's definitely not an eye-catching title. And the cover is related to the story (the yellow tent has its significance), but again, not eye catching. It looks gloomy. The cover reminded me of another literary fiction I didn't quite like - Caribou Island (see my review here with a cover picture.) I hadn't given it much thought about what the title should be, or what the cover should look like, but it is just unfortunate that this book might not have gotten a lot of attention based on this first exterior impression.
  • But yeah, I am going to echo all the other bloggers - READ IT! This will be one of my top 5 reads of 2011. I know, we still have 1.5 months to go, but I doubt it'd fall outside the top 5. It was a  fast paced page turner, and I finished in 2 days. Would have finished it in one setting if I didn't have to go to work.
  • The book actually started on Chapter 31, which is rather unusual. I suppose it's like a prologue, but unlike the typical prologue, it didn't give up the ending, but rather connect the dot when you were about 2/3 through the story. It's almost a word-for-word repeat of Chapter 31, rather than just a hint of what was to come. I had to say though, after reading the book, this made sense, but when I first read it, it was a little confusing and this chapter was a little boring. So I was glad I didn't decide to drop the book based on this chapter alone (luckily it wasn't a very long chapter). After this chapter though, the rest was very easy to follow!
  • I don't quite know how to categorize this book - is it a literary fiction (since it said A Novel?) but it is so fast paced that it almost read like a thriller or suspense - after all, the protagonist's son went missing, and his life went from perfect to hell. And the plot twist was just brilliant - I thought I had it figured out, like who the kidnapper was, and I was right about that, but then I was also so wrong! I couldn't really tell you about it, or it'd spoil the fun. I couldn't really tell you which character I liked or disliked, because that'd give away too much! Seriously, this is definitely a book that the lesser you know, the better. 
  • The tone of this book reminded me of This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (read before blogging) or Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman (see my review here). But this one was better due to the plot, plus I just liked the characters better too. I liked its subtle humor (see quote below.) So if you like these two books, you'll probably like this. Even if you have never read these two books, you should still read this! I liked that this was written as a 1st person perspective, as you'd really get to know Bobby the protagonist.
  • I could see this book being made into a movie - how who should play Bobby? For some reason I can see Tobey Maguire or Jake Gyllenhaal. 
  • I'd definitely read more of this author's work.  This book was refreshing, and it had been a while since a fiction book excited me (I read this before Children of Paranoia, and that's another one I'd highly recommend, see my review here), that I can't wait to recommend to other people! Some people said they didn't quite like the ending, but to me, the ending was what makes this story so good. The reason it's not a 5 Stars is that I didn't get overly emotional. That speaks volume actually, for me to give a high rating to a book that doesn't make me cry!

Shit, meet fan. (p114)

Overall Rating:

4.5 Stars. Read it, and enjoy the ride.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.


  1. So this is the review I have been waiting for :-) it sounds so good and you still didn't give us much, hahaha, love that.

    I agree the cover and title are not great.

    I'm glad you include the bloggers review, going to Kathy's now.

  2. @Marce - when I read bloggers' review of this book, it seemed like everyone wrote the same review - how impressed they were with this book, couldn't tell you more or it'd be ruined, so just go read it! :) It's just too bad about the cover/title. While they fit the book well AFTER you read the story, they don't attract...

  3. I wouldn't have read this book without bloggers either. The cover isn't a turn-off, but the title is. Bobby is the UK word for a policeman and so it gives a very different impression. I'm so glad bloggers brought this to my attention!

  4. I'm so glad you liked this book - I thought it was brilliant! I would definitely go for Jake Gyllenahaal in a movie version of the book.

  5. @farmlanebooks - I don't think the cover is a turn-off, but just not very eye catching. Not something I'd have picked up in a book store based on its cover. I guess that's why they usually have different titles in different countries (kinda like Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indian is renamed to And Then There Were None).

    @bermudaonion - I am not a Jake fan (well don't dislike him either... but I guess I am not really anyone's fan) but can just totally see him playing Bobby based on how I envision him!

  6. I think Kathy's was the 1st review I read too. I'm glad to read another glowing review.

  7. @stacybuckeye - I guess when it comes to a wonderful book, we just can't contain ourselves but to share the excitment!