Casebook by Mona Simpson

There are many ways of choosing a book to read. It could be because of the subject matter, the cover, the series, the author, or because everyone is talking about it. I chose Casebook by Mona Simpson because I was intrigued by the author and the excellent reviews. Simpson was born in Green Bay (a Wisconsin connection!). Before her parents married, they had a son whom they gave up for adoption. Simpson did not know about her brother until she was an adult. Her brother was Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. Now, about the book… It took me a while to warm up to the characters and setting, but by the end of the story the main character Miles had become endearing. The book is set in southern California and is narrated by Miles, mainly from middle school to high school. Miles develops from a big brother who finds his twin sisters (“Boop One” and “Boop Two”) annoying to a big brother who is concerned about them. Miles overhears his parents—Irene, a math professor, and Cary, a Hollywood lawyer—talk about getting a divorce. In order to find out what is happening with his parents, especially his mother whom Miles calls “the Mims”, Miles continues to snoop, eavesdrop, rig up walkie-talkies, read his mother’s emails, and listen in on extension phones. When Irene starts a relationship with Eli, Miles increases his spying with help from his friend Hector. The two are suspicious of Eli. The story starts out light but gets serious as the full extent of Eli’s deception comes to light. All in all, this is a good choice for people who like to read stories about families and friendship with endearing characters and some humor and sleuthing thrown in.

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