Monday, September 23, 2013
The Bookstore - Review
Author: Deborah Meyler
A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.
Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.
The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?
A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.
When I saw the cover and title of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. What reader doesn't love a bookstore, especially one with some personality and quirk.
Esme's life is in upheaval. She is British by nationality, in the U.S. on a student visa while she studies at Colombia, and is dating Mr. Old Money himself, Mitch van Leuven. He leaves her high and dry, before she can even tell him she is pregnant with his child. He later finds out, and Esme and Mitch begin to have a very frustrating and annoying relationship. At least in my opinion. I wanted to shake her sometimes for some of her bad choices or just for her naivete.
Esme is able to find a space of calm within the uncertainty of her life. She takes a job at The Owl bookstore to support herself after Mitch leaves her, and begins to carve out a niche of serenity for herself. The bookstore is open 24 hours, and Esme enjoys the rainy or cold nights, when her coworkers and customers gather inside, listen to Luke play the guitar, and talk about books or movies. Esme feels content and at peace during these moments, and the reader is lulled into the peace as well.
This book had a quiet feel about it, much like the feeling you get while looking for books in a library or a bookstore. You kind of zone out, in your own world, searching through the books, and the world falls away behind you. This book feels like that, if that makes any sense. The supporting characters brought the life to this story, the way I think they did to Esme's life. George with his organic health nut beliefs, musician Luke, who introduces Esme to music that has soul to it, they provide the variety and flavor to the book. I would have had the biggest crush on Luke had I been Esme!
I really liked this book. I would recommend reading it on a wild weather night, a night you want to snuggle down warm and tight, and be cozy for a while.