Title: The Bookstore
Author: Deborah Meyler
Publisher: Gallery/ Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
Number of Pages: 336
How I Got It: purchased
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.
I was initially drawn to this novel because I loved the cover and I can't resist a book set in a bookstore. Add to this an unexpected pregnancy and I'm hooked. Oh, there was everything I could ask for in the description. I mean, even the bookstore's name...The Owl? Come on. I should have been loving every word, right? Sadly, no. I was so frustrated with Esme's back and forth with her boyfriend, who is a total dick from a family of total dicks and wanted more about the bookstore, more literary references, and more in depth descriptions of the secondary characters. I think The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry set me up for disappointment with this read.