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Review – The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Review – The Bookstore by Deborah MeylerThe Bookstore by Deborah Meyler
Published by Gallery Books on August 20th 2013
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 352

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.

The world is Esme Garland’s oyster. The possibilities are endless a British student in New York city. That is until she finds out she is pregnant. When she goes to tell the father he dumps her. After figuring out that she is keeping the baby she endeavors to go it alone. She finds employment at a quirky used bookstore, The Owl. The father comes back into the scene. In the end the bookstore becomes her saving grace.

In ” an Oyster Shell- I am so disappointed that I spent money on this book.

The Pearls – The concept was interesting. Centered around a bookstore that becomes Esme’s safe place is one of the few redeeming qualities of the book.

The setting was really interesting. I feel that the author really did justice to New York city. There were lots of restaurants and places that were mentioned in the book. It made the book come alive.

The supporting characters added a nice depth to the story. More competent than the main character. The author gave the supporting characters quirky attributes that made the read more interesting.

The Sand –  The protagonist did not show much growth in the story. She didn’t learn from her mistakes. It was quite frustrating. This is the most bland character I’ve read in a long time. She chose to stay in an emotionally abusive relationship. When it was over she still pined for the guy. It was disappointing and aggravating, The ending was anti-climatic.

3 Stars

About Deborah Meyler

I was born in the grim but friendly north, in Manchester, within sight and hearing and inhalation distance of the M62, one of the busiest motorways in the country. You can also see the Pennine hills from my bedroom window, which is still my bedroom window because my mum still lives there.

Things ticked along merrily for 17 years and then I went to Trinity College, Oxford. I chose it because the photograph in the Oxford handbook looked nice. I didn’t think I had a chance of getting in really, and nor, encouragingly, did my teachers. I like to think they thought that this was more about class and previous lack of good schooling than innate dimness.

More later…

Now, where was I. Oh yes, I went to Oxford, and it was immensely pleasurable. I fell in love, and remain in love, with Oxford. So let me plunge headlong into the cliche of Brideshead, and quote Evelyn Waugh, where Charles is talking of the texts he has neglected; “I remember no syllable of them now, but the other, more ancient, lore which I acquired that term will be with me in one shape or another to my last hour.”

After Oxford I did an M.Phil at St Andrews University, under the supervision of Phillip Mallett. It was on the commodification of women in late nineteenth century American fiction, supposedly, but actually became a thesis on Edith Wharton. St Andrews is another place that it is easy to fall headlong for.

Next I won a scholarship from The Guardian to go to City University, to do a post-graduate diploma in journalism. And after that I messed up a bit by coming to America, where my husband had been offered a job by Cambridge University Press. I wasn’t allowed to work at first, which caused some loneliness, but then I got a job in a bookshop, and all was well.

After that I had three babies, and decided, in my great folly, that it was a good idea to stay off work entirely while they were little, and so resent them wildly for the atrophying of my mind. I’m kidding. I didn’t resent them. I did resent the piety and wrongheadedness that made me think it was a good idea to opt out of working entirely – it works for lots of women but I found it very very hard.

I don’t know if this autobiography is too long, but I am enjoying myself. My two older children got bigger and went to school. I put my littlest daughter into nursery for two hours or so a day, and decided I would write in good earnest. I wrote a book that is under my bed, because I was just warming up and it is all right but not quite good enough, and then I wrote The Bookstore. I enjoyed writing it hugely, despite the difficulty of overcoming idleness every day. Through the very kind offices of a friend named Siobhan Garrigan, I got an agent, who is a tremendously wise person despite her great youth, and she took it from there. Now I am organising my thoughts and ideas for a new book.

I work part time in a parish church in the middle of Cambridge.

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