It's been a year since I read and reviewed "The Human Bobby" but it is a book I will never forget. Compulsively readable, gripping, and brain-screwing, I read it in one sitting. Which does happen now and again, but with my schedule, not very often.
Even a more glowing testament to the book would be my BFF's experience. She never reads print. EVER. Her schedule is worse than mine, so she does audio, or she doesn't do it at all. I lent her "The Human Bobby" for good beach reading this past summer for her vacation, and she finished it before her toes hit the sand. You must understand, this is BIG.
So when we were batting around ideas for our October read for Books, Babes and Bordeaux, several people requested a book we could read quickly (we had babies being born, people getting married, etc.). Heather and I told everyone the perfect solution was "The Human Bobby". As a secondary thought, I looked up the novel's author Gabe Rotter and asked him if he wouldn't mind chatting with us, and without hesitation, he agreed. Gabe Rotter rocks.
Gabe's first love and his college education is in film. He began his career as a writing assistant under Chris Carter for The X-Files. After that series ended, he wrote "Duck Duck Wally", his first novel, a humorous tale about show business. He has also written a comic book, and currently works as Director of Development for Ten Thirteen Productions with Chris Carter.
In talking to Gabe, he was exactly what you would imagine...very cool, very approachable, at ease, and unassuming. Here are some things he shared with us:
Insight into ambiguous twists in "The Human Bobby": Gabe would not throw us a bone. He feels that is the beauty of the story - you can interpret it many different ways, none of them wrong. This response generated a universal groan from all of us! No! We want answers! I think in order to form any kind of an opinion, I'm going to have to re-read.
On the book's effect on his friends: One of Gabe's friends read "The Human Bobby" when it was a work-in-progress, and because the friend had a young child, he almost wasn't able to deal with it. (The plot involves a child abduction, and is stomach-turning.) Surprisingly, Gabe didn't have children when he wrote it. Despite that, he got all the emotions right. He has a baby girl now, and was pretty sure writing about an abduction would be a whole different and stressful experience post-fatherhood.
On getting the perspective of the homeless: Gabe spent significant time studying and speaking to the homeless in order to nail down their afflictions, behaviorisms, and the situations that brought to them that place in their lives. This made alot of sense to our book club, because he captured the essence of the homeless thing just like he captured the essence of the abduction thing.
So about these comparisons between "The Human Bobby" and "Shutter Island"...Gabe stated that after he had finished Bobby, someone tipped him off that there were some similarities to Lehane's mind-bender. And he was devastated. Still, after watching the movie, Gabe felt there was enough distinction between the two to hold his own. There has been interest in making Bobby into a movie (which we all believe would be incredible). We can only hope...
Current projects? Gabe has a couple of projects in the works. He is currently working on an adaptation of "Duck Duck Wally" for a cable series (no word yet on whether this is a done deal or not). He is also working on something secret-y with Chris Carter for television that may come to pass as well. We were told to stay tuned for news on both!
His favorite books? I did not take notes (bad Sandy), but I recall three books that have made an impression on Gabe throughout the years. "Kane and Abel" by Jeffrey Archer. "The Count of Monte Christo" by Alexandre Dumas (which Gabe called "f-ing brilliant"). And "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I just finished.
We wrapped up our conversation with Gabe by him offering to send us a few copies of "Duck Duck Wally". Again, Gabe Rotter rocks. Although he warned us that it is a completely different book than Bobby, the author is the same and that is all that matters.
Have you read "The Human Bobby" yet? Since there is a readathon coming up, I would highly recommend grabbing this book for such an event. It is the quickest 300 pages you will ever read, and I guarantee you won't be needing any caffeine to stay awake.