The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler was published by Bloomsbury Reader on 12th September and the book is 352 pages long. I received an e-book for review through NetGalley.
British Esme Garland now lives in New York studying art history. She is completely in love with the city, her apartment and her boyfriend. However, he doesn’t seem to feel quite the same as she does and when she finds out she’s pregnant things go horribly wrong. Esme’s boyfriend comes from old money and is expected to live his life a certain way. Just when she’s about to tell Mitchell about the baby, he dumps her, leaving her all alone in a country where she won’t get any help with the baby.
On the Upper West Side is a small, shabby second-hand bookstore called The Owl. Esme finds instant pleasure in spending time there and soon has a part time job there. The Owl is filled with interesting characters, dusty old books and a saving grace for Esme.
What I thought
When I saw this one on NetGalley I thought it would be the perfect book for me. As a lover of books and quirky old book shops, I was instantly interested in finding out more about one set in New York. This was a really strange book from beginning to end. At points, I really struggled to keep going and was tempted to put it down but the strangeness is what kept me going. I wanted to find out how much more ridiculous it could get.
I just could not get my head around how stupid protagonist Esme was. Somehow she’s supporting herself through studying in New York. She has a super-rich boyfriend who is an absolute arse to her but she’s determined to stay with him because she just can’t see what an idiot he is. When he does find out about the baby, he tries to get her to have an abortion, acts like an arse once again and then at some point, proposes in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Honestly, who would have stayed with a man like that. Esme, that’s who.
So, after Esme finds out that she’s pregnant, she talks her way into having a part time job at The Owl, a pretty run down second-hand book shop which is pretty much filled with crazy people. I have no idea why anyone would have taken Esme on considering she only has a student visa and she’s pregnant. Surely that would never happen. Not only that, but the book shop has nice enough staff but seems to become a second home to homeless guys and drunks. Not the safest place for a pregnant lady to be hanging out now is it? There are plenty of situations and events that happen while Esme is at work and I just didn’t understand what was going on. She’s often alone with one of the homeless guys who then tells her to go get something to eat five blocks away and to leave the shop with him. Who would do that?!
So, with a mix of insane characters you would think that this book would have an amazing plot to make up for that… but it doesn’t. The plot pretty much is just about Esme making bad decisions in regards to her pregnancy and her future with Mitchell. There is nothing funny or even remotely exciting about The Bookstore and instead, it was just weird. I can’t really recommend this one because even though I finished it, I didn’t really enjoy it.