By Mona Simpson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780345807281, 336pp.)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
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An Oprah.com Best book of the Year
Nine-year-old Miles Adler-Hart’s mother, “the Mims,” is “pretty for a mathematician.” Miles and his best friend Hector are in thrall to her. When her marriage starts to unravel, the boys begin spying on her to find out why. They rifle through her dresser drawers, bug her telephone lines, and strip-mine her computer. Ultimately, what they find will affect the family’s prosperity—and sanity.
Burdened with such powerful information, the boys struggle to deal with the existence of evil, and proceed to concoct hilarious modes of revenge on their villains. Casebook brilliantly reveals an American family coming apart at the seams and, simultaneously, reconstituting itself to sustain its members through their ultimate trial.
Mona Simpson is the author of Anywhere But Here, The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, Off Keck Road, and My Hollywood. Off Keck Road won the Heartland Prize from the Chicago Tribune and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers’ Award, and, recently, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Simpson is on the faculty at UCLA and also teaches at Bard College.
“A heart-breaker. . . . [Has] enormous emotional power. . . . Simpson’s story unfolds with magnetic force.” —The Boston Globe
“Lovely. . . . Hit[s] just the right notes of charm, humor, satire, sincerity. . . . Casebook is about a mother’s legacy to her son—important life lessons, well learned.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Captivating. . . . Lyrically capture[s] the time between childhood and adulthood, as fleeting and delicate as the golden-hour light that filmmakers chase.” —The Washington Post
“Simpson’s beautifully crafted novel shows us a reconfigured California family through the eyes of a smart, funny adolescent longing to keep hope alive.” —People
“Singular and haunting. . . . Filled with the quirky and succinct descriptions for which Simpson’s celebrated.” —NPR
“[A] wonderful novel. . . . A funny and sad drama about intimacies, deception and growing up.” —The Guardian (London)
“Simpson’s sixth novel is full of insight, even as it showcases her deft touch with character creation.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Adult relationships are the true mystery here. Simpson manipulates the tropes of suspense fiction astutely, and the touches of noir are delicate.” —The New Yorker
“A hybrid of Harriet the Spy and Chandler’s Phillip Marlow books.” —Los Angeles Times
“Deftly tracks the unraveling of a family through the eyes of a child and then young teenager. . . . The childlike simplicity of Simpson’s prose juxtaposes touchingly with the mature themes with which she’s dealing.” —The Huffington Post
“Displays Simpson’s signature impressionism. . . . Charming, sure-footed and as engaging as ever.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Just as in Anywhere But Here, Simpson’s central, complicated relationship of parent and child is both a motif and a window into bared hearts. . . . Miles is an extraordinary character—exceptionally intuitive, observant, feeling.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“Remarkable. . . . Simpson effortlessly snares readers inside a full, intimate world. . . . Simpson allows readers to relish the innocence of childhood and the intense yearning to discover the secrets of life.” —The Miami Herald
“Simpson once again proves herself a master.” —The New York Journal of Books
“Extraordinary. . . . Bracingly astute. . . . Brisk, beautifully modulated writing. . . . [Simpson] create[s] real kids in all their uniqueness and aching vulnerability.” —The Toronto Star
“A classic coming-of-age novel, a beautifully written example of the genre. . . . A word of warning: this is not a book to finish in a public space. Save the final few pages for private reading. This family romance deserves your undivided, teary attention.” —PopMatters