Israel Armstrong finds it hard to enjoy his job as a mobile librarian in Northern Ireland. He feels stifled, captured, and definitely looking for any opportunity to get back to London, his former life, and girlfriend. He, unfortunately, has to always have a traveling companion, a crusty mechanic for the mobile van, Ted Carson. Ted idolizes the van which is actually almost put together with Tedís love and spit and an unrealistic image of its beauty and value.
When Israel decides that he will definitely resign from this job, instead, an opportunity arises which makes him enthusiastically willing to take the mobile van to London for a Mobile Meet. However, he is not to be alone on this escapade, he is to take Ted and Tedís nuisance dog along.
After the ferrying across to England, getting lost, and finally making it back to Israelís motherís home, no parking place is remotely close to the house so the mobile library has to be parked about three blocks away. The next morning when Israel goes to get the van, itís gone. Yes, somebody actually had the gall to steal a bookmobile with a sign painted on it saying ďThe Book Stops HereĒ.
Ted is extremely against getting the police involved. Why? Israel would like to know the answer to that. So Israel and Ted embark on the adventures of finding the vehicle and hopefully getting to enjoy some of the Mobile Meet.
This book is definitely a quick and enjoyable read. It moves quickly and humorously. The characters are very believable, flaws and feelings are definitely exposed. The sense of place in both Northern Ireland and London rings true. You truly feel that this is someone who knows the places, the culture, the social values and the life styles of each unique area.
The book is fun to read. Itís quick, sarcastic, realistic, and even has just plain bad luck. This is a book that all of us at some time can definitely enjoy. This is definitely a kick-back and relax sort of book.
Ian Sansom lives in Northern Ireland and grew up in England, much like his Jewish character of Israel Armstrong. He obviously views himself as Israel in his novels. This is the third book in his book mobile series and can easily be read without the prior knowledge from the other books.
This book made me want to find a bookmobile somewhere. My community no longer has one and I am wondering about if many communities still have one in existence. Has the mobile library become an Irish/English tradition now or are there more still around?
REVIEWED BY TERI DAVIS
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