Monday, July 8, 2013

The Library - ARC Contemporary Review "The Bookstore" by Deborah Meyler

Title:  The Bookstore
Author: Deborah Meyler
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Genre:  Contemporary Women's Fiction

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.
My Thoughts...
This is going to be a relatively short review, mostly because I had such a hard time with this book.  I think that there is a real audience out there for this book, I just don't know that I fit into that group.  I wanted to love it so much, I just didn't...  I was totally taken by the title and the cover art is just beautiful.  I love the romantic notion of working in a little bookstore in New York City.  Honestly, that would be my dream job!

This wasn't an easy read for me, it took me almost a week to get through it which is unheard of for me unless it's 1000 pages.  This book is just so different from what I normally read.  It's really dry, scholarly and at times pretentious.There are these rambling paragraphs where I found myself skimming because I had NO idea what she was talking about. 

Esme, as a main character, was impossible to connect with.  She's a little dry too, but not unlikable.  I never really got a full sense of her, what she looked like or what she really wanted.  Mitchell is a class A douche.  From the moment we meet him we know what and who he really is and it's not good.  He treats Esme like a doormat and she just lets him do it because she seems to be in love with him.  It's all very vague though and I never got a feeling of true connection between them even though Esme kept insisting that it was there and that she loved him.

For me the real true main character of this story is The Owl.  This is a charming little used bookstore that I would love to spend hours in.  It's full of colorful characters that make this story come to life for little pockets of time.  From George the eccentric older gentlemen who runs the store to DeeMo one of the homeless men that frequent the store, the feeling of belonging is just there when you step inside.  I do have to say that Luke is my favorite, though.  There is something there, but it's disappointing that it's never fully explored.  I think he is in love with Esme and there are brief glimpses where you see it, then it's gone.

There is no real sense of closure with this book, it just ends abruptly when Esme comes to a point where she settles into her role as mother.  I am sure there was a point that this book was trying to get across, other than the normal HEA that I am used to seeing, but I am not sure what it was.  I guess it was just a little more than the "fluff" I tend to read. If you like a more intellectual book or you enjoy women's fiction then this may be something you want to check out. If you are looking for a love story or something with a nice tied up happy ending you aren't going to find that here.

*Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC Galley of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. I had the same problems with this one. It was a stifling read with all the pretentious vocabulary. I also disliked how Esme never saw what a jerk Mitchell was. Sigh. I guess us two were not made for this one.


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