By: Gabrielle Zevin
So, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this book. There was a quaint setting, although I didn’t feel connected to it; and several quirky and lovable characters, even if they occasionally felt far-fetched. One of the characters, when she is six, speaks with the eloquence of a professor. Having a recently turned seven year old, this kind of bugged me. I tend to not like stories where the children act too smart. I wonder if that’s some kind of subconscious irritation at kids who seem “better” than my own. The book mainly takes place in a bookstore where light-hearted things happen in very dramatic ways and there is so much tragedy, it sometimes gets lost. However, the characters are extremely likable, even lovable at times. The main character writes about titles that have changed or influences him, as a “last lecture” to his daughter. Reading this sharp observations made me want to read all of these recommendations. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I had a difficult time picturing it in my head.
Almost every character in the book suffers a great loss or some similar pain. I struggled some while trying to keep up with the different threads of sadness. There was one character in particular who deserves her own book. She’s a writer in disguise and her story is fascinating to me. I would definitely like to read more about the woman with the expensive wardrobe. Death was definitely a strong theme throughout the book; and it made it more relatable to me. Death was treated as a sudden, unexpected thing. I have experienced the pain of having someone ripped from your life, and the agony that goes with trying to repair your heart afterwards.