Book Review: Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead | Abuse is NOT Okay

BobLivy can’t remember her first visit to her grandmother’s house all the way across the world in Australia, though she does seem to recall a ‘wrong chicken’ and something unusual about a black chess piece.

She definitely doesn’t remember the strange little creature she finds in the wardrobe. His name is Bob, and he’s been waiting for her to come back for more than five years—that’s a very long time to sit in the dark.

Livy and Bob piece together the mystery of who Bob is, and a beautiful friendship unfolds. Now Livy must help Bob find his way home.

Bob is a tender and engaging story for young readers about loyalty and the power of imagination, set in an Australian country town.

Discussion:

"I was too busy basking in the glow of hearing my name. The Great and Powerful Bob. The Bobster. His Bobness."

1.5/5 stars

Wow. Just, wow. I expected so much more from this fun-looking book with the best title in existence. Really, who doesn't click on a book titled with the name "Bob"?* Well, as I was book shopping on Netgalley and saw this book, I immediately requested it. I looked at my email every 5 seconds, waiting for what was hopefully a confirming email.Thankfully, it was; unfortunately, that was when my excitement ended.

*Well, I know I did just by the title of this book review and what I have just written!


This book takes place in a small town in Australia, and Livy is spending her time with her grandmother for the first time in 5 years. The thing is that she remembers little to almost nothing from her last visit. Then, she learns that she has a friend named Bob. This is when everything took a turn for the worst. 

Once Bob, a green not-zombie-chicken-goblin-looking thing, comes into the picture with his accusing stares and whiny voice, I started to get frustrated and write notes like crazy because this is the most annoying story of a not-zombie chicken I have ever read. I hate Bob and his selfish nature. 
I just hated how much abuse Livy, the main character, went through due to her love for Bob. Bob messes with her head as every five years he causes Australia to go into chaos and he breaks her down until she is a puddle of mushy potatoes. And no one likes soggy, mushy potatoes. Throughout this book, Bob compares Livy to her past self. For example, this quote describes the friendships between Livy and Bob through the whole book:

"Bob smiles back. 'That's better. You look almost like the old Livy.'"

He makes Livy feel so guilty because she is not the same as she was when she was five years old. No one is the same as one is five years ago. People change, develop into better (or worse) beings, and find themselves face-first in a pile of cakes. Okay, maybe, just the last one stays the same forever, but people definitely forget and change a lot in a span of five years, especially with the addition of magic. For example, five years ago, I did not enjoy writing as much; I was nervous to join 5th grade in a new school and find new friends; I wasn't an extreme reader; I was extremely in love with toys and dolls. Now, you can find some of my scarier dolls in my closet, waiting for me to go into my closet so they can...play with me? Or, is it kill me? I have never seen "Chucky" so I am not sure how stuff animals and dolls are supposed to act. There may have only been one moment that I felt connected to Bob in some way, however. I think everyone can tell why.

"Still, I do manage to finish a cheese sandwich that had only one bite taken out of it. Keeping up one's strength is very important when on a mission like this, and I will need enough energy to make it back to our house.

May as well take the ham slice, too."

No explanation required.

Although I may have disliked so many things about humongous thingamabobs, I did enjoy some aspects. One good thing is the beautiful illustrations, which I wish there were more. Also, I really liked the writing style. It was very capturing and I loved how the story flowed so magically. I wish there were more descriptions of Australia and the surroundings so then I would not have to take a one-way trip to Australia. I never felt as if I were transported away onto some magical island, and I love having this element play in every novel I read. I also really enjoyed Livy, the main character.

Moreover, Livy is a ten year old girl who is ready to spend some time with her grandmother. She is kind to everyone she meets, even if it happens to be a weird-looking chicken. I actually really enjoyed reading about her as she reminds me a little bit of myself. I get really nervous whenever I am not around my parents in a new and unfamiliar place. This mostly happened when I was younger, and one can definitely tell just by my first day of Kindergarten. Livy is also very anxious to be away from her parents; so, once she finds out that a long-lost friend has been waiting for her, she gets very enthusiastic. She is also very much into chocolate cake so I can see how we could be best friends. Additionally, she is very imaginative, curious, and very forgetful. I related to her some more because I am imaginative and very forgetful. I barely remember anything from 5 seconds ago. Was I supposed to make a sandwich? No, but it sounds good. Feed the cats? No, their bowls are full. Write a rant review of a story of an abusive friendship with a not-zombie chicken? Check and mate. The only thing I do not like about her is that she not have the decency to slap Bob in the face, no matter how nice she is.

I expected so much from this. Not only does it have a magical premise that makes me drool, but it is super short and has a 4.26 rating on Goodreads, as of April 17th, 2018. I am going to be the first person to let a 1-star rating hit this book. I tried so hard to like it; however, as you can tell, I did not enjoy this very much. For what I had hoped would be a heartwarming children's story, I instead got not what I was expecting. 

In conclusion, I have three messages:
  1.  To Nick Gannon: Great job with the illustrations! Keep on doing what you are doing and make me happy by creating beautiful artwork. My only criticism of your work is that you could have done more. Maybe? How full is your schedule?
  2. To Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead: Write less of an annoying goblin-chicken in distress. Your storytelling was good, but Bob is what ruined this whole book for me. I do not think that children or any person of any age should see a "friend" being blamed for being forgetful, due to magic or not. No one should treat a person with that much abuse no matter what. Teach kids to be good to each other not matter what.
  3. To readers: If you want to read this, I will not stop you. I would just advise that if you have problems with people taking verbal abuse or terrible friendships, don't read this. I would not advise you to read this to children of any age unless they know what a true friendship is like.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!

*Received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All quotations came from an advanced copy so the wording may have changed or the quote may not be there at all.

Love,
newbookcats

What were you like five years ago? Have you had any 1-star books recently? If so, what was so bad about it/them?Would you rather hate a book everyone else loves or love a book everyone else hates? Are there any qualities about an exceptionally bad book that can save it? Do you wish to be a goblin that looks like a weird green chicken? Chat with me in the comments below or on any of my social medias.

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Comments

  1. Awww, sorry this doesn't work out for you which I think will happen to me too if I read this. You convinced me, I won't. I want my characters lovable. and Bob is NOT lovable and definitely not relatable as well so, I'll pass.
    Hope your next book is better Nicole. :) :)

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  2. I know. I am in agony because of this book because I thought I was really going to like it. THE AGONY! I am so sorry that I may have ruined this book for you. A lot of other people seem to enjoy this book, and I seem to be the ugly book-duckling. However, I think this may be one of the few books I would never recommend due to all the points listed above. Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope you have a great day.

    P.S. I cannot wait for your readathon tomorrow. Should I shout the news from my rooftop to my neighbors? HAHAHA!

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