Monday, 3 February 2014

The Bookstore by 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.

This was a book i had let sit for a while and when i saw a haul on youtube featuring this it rejigged my memory and i settled in to the book. So, we meet Esme who loves to visit the owl a quirky second hand bookshop as an escape to daily life, we follow her as she falls madly in love, pregnant and heartbroken, the owl provides comfort. We meet some quirky characters including the guy obsessed with Lolita..and the street guys who help with the shop. We see hope in sad situations and honest friendships formed. We also meet a jerk in the form of Mitchell, i detested him from the start and i knew no matter what he did, i wouldnt trust him, but Esme, well she was a girl in love, and we can all understand that. As the narrative flows we see the hard decisions Esme has ahead of her, but most of all, we seek the comfort of books, a bit like a book blogger, its a safe place full of knowledge, and escapism. I did at sometimes think Esme was a bit naive, but then i remembered she was in a new city alone, and well - i soon changed my mind.


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