2 out of 4 stars
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thE lifE oF A boB, as the title is formatted, is written by Leslie Daniels, a former admin of an online virtual chatroom community. This book is a short collection of stories about another admin, the titular boB. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, travels through space or a fight between a snowman and a tiger, Daniels creates fun, silly, and quirky stories based on the various chatrooms herself and boB are involved in.
Based on the cover and the blurb, I was expecting this book to be a lot more like a traditional graphic novel. However, there is no consistent plot throughout the book, with each chapter telling a different story. The chapters are short, ranging between one and five pages. As well as stories, some of the chapters contain other things like a poem, suggestions for room redecorations and a list of things invented by Canadians. While most of the chapters are fun, they are often very confusing, and I would have liked to see a more coherent collection. Often, there seems to be no connection between the chapters, and because they are so short, the book doesn’t seem to have a real sense of purpose.
Probably my favourite part of the book is the illustrations. Scattered throughout the book, they have a simple, bright style that helps bring some of the more ridiculous scenes to life. There are also a number of photos, as well as ASCII art, which involves using standard computer characters to create pictures. These various images add colour, and they are the main thing that kept me engaged throughout the book.
The thing that frustrated me the most about the book was the formatting. While it seems to have been formatted in an attempt to imitate the casual writing style employed by chatroom users, the effect is often quite jarring. There is no consistency, and incorrect use of asterisks often makes it hard to follow what exactly is happening. I think there is probably some way the author could have altered the formatting to make it more user-friendly, while still achieving the affect she was aiming for.
Overall, I would give this book 2 out of 4 stars. While I didn’t love it, it was an entertaining and very quick read at only 48 pages. I would recommend this for someone looking for a very short, easy read, or for someone who was involved in the chatroom scene and wants to relive that a bit. If you’re looking for a book with a bit more substance, this is not the book for you.
The Life of a boB
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