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Casebook

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3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  2,013 Ratings  ·  326 Reviews
From the acclaimed and award-winning author: a beguiling new novel about an eavesdropping boy working to discover the obscure mysteries of his unraveling family. He uncovers instead what he least wants to know: the workings of his parents' private lives. And even then he can't stop snooping.

Miles Adler-Rich, helped by his friend Hector, spies and listens in on his separati
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2014)
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Kari
Dec 30, 2014 Kari rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I'm going to be upfront, I didn't finish Casebook. I have read some good reviews for the book and was looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I think I am in the minority when it comes to this book. The book I read wasn't the book I thought I was getting. I got about a third of the way through and gave up.

There are a few reasons that this book just didn't work for me. I didn't really like the way it was written. I know that for some people, it will work but I just couldn't get into the fl
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Julie
Mar 18, 2014 Julie rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, vine, fiction
I found the synopsis of this book to be entirely misleading. I didn’t encounter any blatant evil, just stale characters slogging through monotony. This is told from the perspective of Miles, who is nothing but a nosy kid lacking direction. His parents get divorced and his mom starts dating a loser. So Miles takes it upon himself to find any unsavory tidbit he can about Eli to discredit the promises he made - over the course of six very long years. The narrative is a disjointed ...more
Caren
Jun 18, 2014 Caren rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
I seldom write a poor review on Goodreads for the simple reason that I seldom finish a book I don't like. Halfway into this book, I nearly put it aside, and by the last page, I devoutly wished I had. This just isn't at all my sort of book. Here we have an incredibly nosy kid who rifles through his mother's underwear drawer (!) and calls her "the Mims". I found everything about this kid irritating. The many other characters were no more appealing. This was a dreary tale that held no uplifting ...more
Caitlin
Apr 20, 2014 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I loved this book in ways I didn't expect - perhaps because it reminded me of so many things I loved when I was a kid. Harriet the Spy, for instance - I read that book over and over again because I loved the idea of looking into windows, of observing people in the neighborhood and the world and trying to figure out things about them - all kids are snoops, right? It made me think of hanging around on the upstairs landing when my parents had a dinner party and after I was supposed to go to bed - j ...more
Erika
Aug 18, 2014 Erika rated it really liked it
I know there are a lot of reviews out there talking about all the problems in this book. I'm just gonna say straight out - none of that stuff bothered me. I know Miles sometimes sounded like a teenager and the next page sounded like an adult. I felt like that was normal. His best friend Hector (maybe gay? maybe Miles is gay too? who knows?) had the same kind of thing happening, but I felt they were both characters I could identify with, and I could have when I was in high school, too.

I liked th
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Victoria
Jun 15, 2014 Victoria rated it did not like it
Every year, there are only a handful of novels that I cannot bring myself to finish. This one, unfortunately, will join that small pile for 2014. The premise of a snooping child narrator is one that has worked so well for other authors (like Lisa O’Donnell’s Closed Doors), but the success really depends on the charm of the narrator. Miles displays little charm or humour and the odd structure adds to the difficulty in connecting with Miles or any of the other characters. The odd footnotes from “H ...more
Magdalena Edwards
Feb 10, 2014 Magdalena Edwards rated it it was amazing
"1 • Under the Bed
I was a snoop, but a peculiar kind. I only discovered what I most didn’t want to know.
The first time it happened, I was nine. I’d snaked underneath my parents’ bed when the room was empty to rig up a walkie- talkie. Then they strolled in and flopped down. So I was stuck. Under their bed. Until they got up.
I’d wanted to eavesdrop on her, not them. She decided my life. Just then, the moms were debating weeknight television. I needed, I believed I absolutely needed to understan
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Liviania
May 09, 2014 Liviania rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Miles Adler-Rich is a privileged child of divorce and a burgeoning snoop. He likes to listen to his mother's conversations on the phone. When she starts dating a man named Eli, Miles likes him at first. But as the years pass by, little things don't add up and Miles gets serious about uncovering the truth.

The parts of CASEBOOK I liked, I really liked, but it was an uneven read. The beginning and ending both go on for too long. I would admire the dedication to unraveling the consequences
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Lauren
Apr 17, 2014 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I really enjoyed Mona Simpson's novel "My Hollywood," which captured a certain stratum of upper middle-class motherhood perfectly. (Mona Simpson is Steve Jobs' biological sister btw. He was raised by adoptive parents, she by their biological ones. I always think that's a cool fact.)

This book I wasn't so crazy about. The premise is awesome. The narrator is a young teen who spies on his parents and learns more than he bargains for about their personal life and then some.

But I didn't find that narr
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Colleen Toporek
May 28, 2014 Colleen Toporek rated it really liked it
Chuck and I visited Portland recently and while browsing at Powell’s I saw Casebook, a new book by Mona Simpson. I try not to buy too many books in hardback; I can’t afford it, plus I don’t have the space for them. But there are some authors I must have immediately, and Mona Simpson is one of them.

Certain books, if you read them at the right time, make a tremendous impression. They not only strike a chord and reflect some inchoate feeling or experience you’ve never been able to articulate, but e
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Josh Ang
Jul 14, 2014 Josh Ang rated it it was ok
Mona Simpson had written in a teenager's voice before in "Anywhere But Here", where a girl grapples with a topsy turvy relationship with an irresponsible mother. But while that novel worked wonderfully, this latest bombed in more ways than one.

The premise is similar in "Casebook", though from a 14-year-old boy's point of view. Miles eavesdrops on his smartypants mathematician mother in an innocent enough attempt to find out what the verdict is re: his wish to watch "Survivor" on TV (um hmm, you
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Natalie Serber
Apr 21, 2014 Natalie Serber rated it it was amazing
"I was a snoop, but a peculiar kind. I only discovered what I most didn't want to know."

That's the trouble with snooping, we poke around and eavesdrop so that we can know better the people we love and then we're gobsmacked by what we find. Such is the case for Miles Adler-Hart, the narrator of Mona Simpson's sixth novel, "Casebook."

Miles is a sweet teenager, a little soft in the belly, who spends his time hanging with chums, sewing mutant animal mash-ups (teddy bear head, horse body, alligator
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Diane
Apr 18, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing
As Mona Simpson's newest novel, Casebook opens, Miles is twelve years old when his parents separate. His mom, Irene (whom he calls the Mims) is a mathematician, not an occupation you find frequently in novels. His father Evan is a lawyer in the entertainment industry and they live in Los Angeles.

He has younger twin sisters whom he calls Boop One and Boop Two. His best friend Hector's parents aren't together either. Hector has a bit of a crush on the Mims, and he is more than willing to help Mile
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Doreen
Oct 23, 2015 Doreen rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
The narrator is Miles Adler-Hart who retrospectively tells the story of the divorce of his parents and his mother’s subsequent relationship with another man. Miles, from the age of nine, is an old-fashioned snoop; because of his eavesdropping he learns his parents are separating. Later, when his mother begins dating Eli Lee, Miles and his best friend Hector set out to investigate Eli because his broken promises and long absences make them suspicious.

The novel is framed as an unfinished manuscri
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Abdi Nazemian
May 12, 2014 Abdi Nazemian rated it did not like it
This is one of those books I just didn't get. I found it immensely frustrating to get through. Miles, our young narrator, keeps many of the characters at arm’s length. The very fact that he calls his mother The Mims, and his sisters Boop One and Boop Two is indicative of the fact that these characters never become flesh and blood to us. They never have names, let alone hearts and souls that we can care about.
Carolee Wheeler
May 18, 2014 Carolee Wheeler rated it it was ok
I read Simpson's Anywhere But Here five times. It was something I went to for comfort, clicking into the wisdom and resiliency of Ann August (even though, the first time i read the book, I became so incensed with her mother that I pitched the paperback across the room). I read her next two, The Lost Father and A Regular Guy and loved them as well. But My Hollywood disappointed and so did this one. I'm sorry, Mona Simpson, I just don't get you anymore.
Stephanie
May 31, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: readwomen2014
Starts off slow and a little strange, and somewhere along the way becomes a deeply moving tale told from the intimate perspective of a teenage boy. I found the events were sometimes hard to follow--the chronology unclear, pieces of the story left out; but by the last page, the patched-together feeling of the narrative made perfect sense, even if every moment of the narrative didn't.
Vox
Apr 27, 2014 Vox rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Mona Simpson since I read Anywhere but Here lo those many years ago. She understood the perspective of an unsettled teenage girl, as well as that of the girl's mother. I've been hooked ever since.

Casebook only solidifies the love.

When we meet Miles Adler-Rich, he is a grade schooler who discovers while eavesdropping that his parents' marriage is fracturing. He overhears his father say that he has an interest in another woman. Miles' curiosity is piqued, to say the least, and
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Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Apr 16, 2014 Lori L (She Treads Softly) rated it really liked it
In Casebook by Mona Simpson a young amateur sleuth hears more than he bargained for which eventually leads to an expanded investigation and results in some hard earned lessons and maturity. Highly Recommended

When Miles Adler-Hart was 12 he originally began eavesdropping on his parents in a vain attempt to discover any plans they might have for his futures. Instead of talking about him, Miles discovers that their relationship is in trouble and they are getting divorced. After the divorce Miles' m
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Shelley
Aug 24, 2014 Shelley rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Casebook, to me, means a collection of butchered and baffling pieces of court cases in one volume, often without any context or annotation, which law students read (and sometimes, rarely, understand) and are then quizzed about by professors via the Socratic method. Generally, during the course of the questioning, the students realize they don't understand anything at all. (At least the first semester, and then they discover the wonderful world of study aids.)

Considering it's a novel narrated by
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Karen
Nov 11, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's taken quite a few attempts to read CASEBOOK, it's been one of the most picked up and discarded books in the review pile for quite a while.

The idea behind it was part of the problem – a young boy eavesdropping on his family as his parent's marriage falls apart. It feels therefore like it's going to be very personal. Devastating even. Unfortunately the storytelling relies heavily on the stream-of-conscious voice of young Miles – who frankly – doesn't feel “real”. Or maybe he just doesn't feel
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Dana
Jul 09, 2014 Dana rated it really liked it
Initially, I wondered if a book that revolved around a youthful narrator who spied on his parents would culminate in an adult fiction storyline, but I couldn't have been happier with my decision to read Casebook. When I laughed out loud by the end of the first page, I knew I'd found a good book. The voice of teenage Miles capitalized on his naiveté, which added an element of humor I haven't experienced since The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, a book I absolutely loved and ...more
Stelly
2.5 stars

This was an odd book. I like what the author was trying to do, but the actual execution came up short. Didn't help that the blurb about the book is very misleading.

I borrowed the ebook from my library. I had 14 days to finish the book. I was shocked but it took me all 14 to read this book. The first 30-40% of the book took 10 days and were excruciatingly hard to get through. I kept wanting to give up. But I powered through the boredom. And there was some payoff. Not enough to make up fo
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Becky
May 07, 2014 Becky rated it liked it
My expectation at the outset was that this book would be more based in mystery than it really was.

In reality, this is more a story about a boy coming to grips with adulthood. In Miles, Simpson has created a charming and witty narrator whose story is quite amusing. The premise that this is a book he and Hector have written after the fact (complete with the occasional end note in conversation between the two) is amusing but perhaps not used enough to be thoroughly convincing. In other words it's a
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Susan
Jul 03, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
As the story begins Miles Adler-Hart is the story teller, twelve years old, blind-sided by his parents divorce. Perhaps as a consequence he spends a good deal of his home time seeking to know what else his parents may be up to. The thrust of the story is the result of what he learns, yet also fails to learn, as he actively sleuths through the house, setting up listening devices, rummaging through his mother's belongings, her internet sites, snail mail, etc. Eavesdropping on conversations becomes ...more
Sonja
May 19, 2014 Sonja rated it really liked it
What happens when a person finds that one true love of her life? Most often, these stories are told from the point of view of the woman; this time the love story is offered from the perspective of the fifteen year old son who spies on his mother and hires a private detective to help him uncover the truth about Eli, her boyfriend. Miles and his friend Hector rig up a device to listen in on his mother's conversations with her lover. His intention is to figure out whether his mother is happy and ...more
Cynthia
Jun 03, 2014 Cynthia rated it really liked it
There’s nothing unusual in a suburban story about divorce and how that affects kids but somehow Simpson manages to make it unique. Miles Adler-Hart (the hyphenated name is made up of both his parents’ birth names) is a typical kid…or is he? I suppose the use of the both his parents’ names is telling in itself. The Adler-Hart family lives in Santa Monica California. They shop at Wholefoods. The kids have attended the same private school with kids just like them since they were old enough to go to ...more
Robert Blumenthal
May 16, 2014 Robert Blumenthal rated it it was amazing
I've been a huge fan of Mona Simpson ever since Anywhere But Here. In this novel, she tackles what I believe to be a difficult task in writing from the perspective of an adolescent teenage boy. And she never makes the mistake that some novelists do trying to utilize their creative writing skills and write in a manner that is not consistent with the narrator. In being true to her task, the writing can be a bit simple, abrupt and nonsequitor, just like a teenage boy. It is essentially a novel of a ...more
Latkins
Mar 21, 2014 Latkins rated it really liked it
I found this novel very hard-going at first, as it's quite difficult to work out who the characters are and exactly what's going on, but after a while I really got into in and, as a result, really enjoyed it. The narrator, Miles, looks back on his childhood and adolescence, as he used to eavesdrop on his mother and snoop into her life from the age of nine, aided by his friend Hector. After Miles's parents split up, his mother starts seeing another man, Eli, who Miles is initially wary of, and ...more
Melinda Worfolk
Dec 07, 2014 Melinda Worfolk rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2014
Casebook is an odd duck. I liked parts of it but found it dragged on at the end. I figured out the deception at the heart of the plot early on, and felt that the book went on for too long after the big reveal. I did like Miles's voice (and the work of the audiobook narrator), and parts of the book were funny and touching. It was just kind of uneven. I wonder if I would have liked it better if I had read it rather than listened to it--apparently there are illustrations. +1 for the book cover ...more
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Mona Simpson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, then moved to Los Angeles as a young teenager. Her father was a recent immigrant from Syria and her mother was the daughter of a mink farmer and the first person in her family to attend college. Simpson went to Berkeley, where she studied poetry. She worked as a journalist before moving to New York to attend Columbia’s MFA program. During graduate ...more
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“Maybe she’d always wished to be beautiful and didn’t quite dare to, because she could tell that people didn’t say she was and more attention was given to other women, but she still had a frail hope that there’d been a mistake and she was after all.” 3 likes
“Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Does it improve upon the silence?” 2 likes
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