Author : Deborah Meyler | Twitter
Publisher : Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Published date : 20th August 2013
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?
The Bookstore is one of the books that I got from Netgalley. The title attracts me so I decided to request it.
Esme is an appealing character. She’s young, a bit naïve which makes her funny sometimes. Mitchell is a complex character. He appears as a jerk kind of guy, but he also has vulnerable side. I couldn’t predict what his next move. The Owl’s employees (and the homeless also) are interesting people. Each with their own unique personality. I’m fond of them.
Esme-Mitchell relationship is confusing sometimes but intriguing. Their love-hate relationship attracts me. It’s an unhealthy relationship and a bit complicated. At some point I was yelling to Esme to leave Mitchell and just be with Luke, but then I was like ‘well, it’s a good thing she get back together with Mitchell’.
I like the setting too. NYC is described through a newcomer eyes which is refreshing and Meyler describes them vividly. The story takes place mostly at The Owl and that’s good since there’s a lot of book titles mentioned here. Besides, I love being in a bookstore so it excites me. Even though I haven’t heard most of the titles and the paintings that Esme mentioned, it doesn’t bother me much.
Meyler sometimes uses uncommon words. She plays with words and she could arrange them into sentences beautifully. But, at some parts, I couldn’t connect well with them. It made me feel that I was lost. Yet, I still enjoyed reading The Bookstore. The ending is satisfying. Not a cheesy happy ever after ending, but a nice one.
The Bookstore reminds me of Ally McBeal, the TV show. The Owl is similar to Cage & Fish with those funny and interesting misfits in it. Ally McBeal also has dramatic love life outside Cage & Fish, like Esme and Mitchell. So if you like the show, you might want to check this book.