A Review of “Fishbowl,” by Bradley Somer

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A Captivating Novel from Bradley Somer

Fishbowl is a very unusual story that weaves together the ordinary lives of many during a short moment of time.  Bradley Somer’s skill at bringing us along is phenomenal.  Quirky characters? Without a doubt.  Strange circumstances?  Definitely.  Making us want answers?  Yes!

The Story

First there is Ian.  A goldfish.  A thoughtful yet adventurous fish who may not have a long memory, but who does understand far more about the world than many of us.

Then there are the select residents we meet within a twenty-seven floor apartment building called The Seville…a pregnant woman–very pregnant…a young boy, homeschooled, who time travels…an agoraphobic woman who can’t leave her apartment… Jimenez, the apartment caretaker, who waters artificial flowers…And others within with their own secrets and desires.

Lastly we see those without who nevertheless have influence on those within.

Does it all revolve around a broken elevator?

When the elevator breaks down, Jimenez, the super,  is all over it. He’ll fix it. We hope.  Eventually.  In the meantime, residents and guests are advised to use the staircase. Right there you have part of the problem.  After all, we’re talking twenty-seven floors.  Twenty seven stair levels where you can’t help but see any one else who is coming or going.

At first the reader wanders through the lives of the residents and guests. If you consider how mundane much of an average day is, you will wonder how descriptions are able to enthrall.  Even in the ordinary, tension grows as paths cross, as needs arise.  And both happen often in the Seville. You often find yourself anticipating what will happen.  Will you be right remains to be seen.

I won’t go into the details that might give away the story.  It’s enough to know that much of it happens as Ian leaves his fishbowl to fall those twenty-seven floors.  What he sees enroute to the ground increases his curiosity as well as ours.

In the beginning, the reader isn’t sure how to feel about the residents described.  While some seem likable, others seem peculiar or questionable. Yet the author leads our emotions to sympathize with most of the characters. Reactions you might expect turn into unexpected.  Your feelings change throughout.  Author Bradley Somer is very effective with his character development.

Revelations, betrayals, bravery, heroism, love, insecurity, fear, comfort.  How much of each does one see in any one day?

From Audible Studios

I was pleased to listen to the audio version of Fishbowl from Audible.  The narrator, Peter Berkrot, is fabulous.  His voice and accent add so much to the story that I can’t imagine reading the book without knowing the voice of Ian and the others. Do listen to a sample here.  

It turned out to be a fascinating book.  Feelings change as you read.

Its revelation may be as simple as the fact that we aren’t meant to be alone.  As characters step out of their comfort zone, you will be part of some lovely scenes that leave you wanting more.  I see the possibility of a follow up book. It will be interesting to see if the author’s agrees.

You can order Fishbowl in any format here.


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Merry Citarella

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