Genre: Women's Fiction
Summary (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.
Review: I really wanted to like this book about a woman working in a bookstore (I mean, add in a bake shop, and it would by my perfect book!) but it did not live up to my expectations. Esme was dull as dishwater and had no gumption, and what she ever saw in that selfish #$&* Mitchell was inexplicable. She seemed like a smart enough girl, and there was no explanation for why she kept going back to him after he kept breaking up with her in terrible manipulative ways. Plus, working in a bookstore could have been fodder for interesting stories about quirky customers, but instead, Esme seemed to meet only sad, troubled homeless men. And to top it off, the ending was non-existent, with no resolution to Esme's story. It was well-written, sure, and kept me interested in the story, but all-in-all, I was very disappointed.
Rating: 2 stars