Monday, 26 August 2013

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

The Bookstore
Blurb (From Goodreads):
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.

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

The Bookstore(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gallery Books and Edelweiss.)
20-something Esme from England is living in a studio apartment in New York while she does her PhD in Art History at Columbia University when she finds out that she is pregnant.
Callously dumped by her boyfriend because the sex wasn’t good, Esme decides to not even both telling him about the baby, but unfortunately he finds out anyway and tries to talk her into an abortion, which Esme doesn’t want.
How far will boyfriend Mitchell go to try and get his way? Can Esme sway him into keeping the baby and being a real family? And is a job at a small bookstore just what she needs?

I don’t even know where to start with this book, it was just bizarre.

The Charaters:
Esme was such a sucker it was ridiculous. How many times can a man be a total eejit and you still love him and want him? How many times do you keep going back for more?
Mitchell was an absolute turd. If it wasn’t bad enough that he dumped Esme because the sex was bad, he then kept trying to talk her into an abortion, and then got his father to try to bribe her into an abortion. Never mind that he then tried to talk her into a threesome, in fact had already set it up when she was 6 months pregnant and had never wanted a threesome in the first place.
The people who came into the bookshop were also pretty certifiable. It was like you had to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic to even make it in the door. This was including, but not limited to the weird woman who threatened to complain to the town hall because they had a stuffed owl in the shop (called ‘The Owl’), and she was ‘breathing in dead owl dust’.

The storyline:
I’m not going to even start on this, instead I’ll just share with you my status updates on Goodreads, which kind of speak for themselves:

7% - she propositions her boyfriend and he tells her he's busy? Time to get a new boyfriend.

8% - she masturbates with a toothbrush? not sure I needed to know that.

10% - she doesn't want sex so he says she can give him a blow job instead?

14% - what an arse wipe.

19% - because everyone wants to hire someone who doesn't have a work visa and is pregnant.

26% - a homeless guy tells her to go to a deli 5 blocks away and that she should eat in, and she doesn't suspect that leaving the bookshop with him might be a bad idea? That he might just rob the place?

37% - So now her "friends" are telling her that she must have gotten pregnant on purpose because there's no such thing as an accident? Nice friends you've got there love.

42% - This bloke is just unbelievable. After trying to trick her into getting an abortion and pressuring her repeatedly, he now pops the question in a crowded restaurant?
Please don't tell me that she says yes!

43% - She said yes. Has she learned nothing?

43% - And now he's moaning about the fact that she wants a sip of wine. It might hurt the baby - the baby that he wanted aborted, and still doesn't really want.

46% - What the hell is wrong with running a cupcake business?

54% - He thinks she should be playing beach volleyball whilst pregnant?

64% - Now his father is trying to bribe her into getting an abortion!

65% - "Such a pretty name, where did you get it?"
Don’t most people get named by their parents at birth? She didn't exactly buy it at Wal-Mart!

73% - She has an awful lot of caffeine for a pregnant woman.

84% - She's six months pregnant and he's trying to talk her into a threesome?!

85% - I think he just told her that loving her makes him contemplate suicide! What a charming man.

88% - Now he's breaking up with her because the relationship is hollow? It's hollow because he is hollow! She's better off without him. What an ass wipe.

88% - "I don't even particularly like you."
Well he liked her enough to get her pregnant!"

89% - And she's still trying to talk him in to marrying her. What is wrong with her?

95% - Well at least she's breastfeeding.

I can honestly say that this book was just strange. I just didn’t get it at all. Mitchell deserved to be strung up, and Esme needed her head testing for continuing to chase him and go along with his plans.

I don’t think I’d recommend this to anybody, it wasn’t even funny, and this ‘family’ that she’s supposed to have made at the bookstore was just a bunch of nutters who all hung around the same place, and didn’t mind too much when a homeless man stole from them. I mean seriously?

If you want to read some women’s fiction, I’d suggest Jodi Picoult or Jane Green, and suggest you steer well clear of this. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the baby was a girl, let’s hope she’s got more sense than her mother.
Overall; a strange women’s fiction story, that wasn’t even funny.
5 out of 10.


  1. Aw, sounds like a lot of issues, but it could have been great.

  2. Your status updates are hilarious XD I read it over the weekend and had a lot of similar thoughts, but I actually like the parts with the bookstore and the people hanging out at it. The relationship was a complete no-go for me, too. I hated how he proposed to her, for instance, and how she kept running after him. Ugh. Anyway, if you're interested in my full thoughts you can read them here.

  3. LOL, okay yeah, that is weird. I loved your updates.

  4. I read the synopsis and thought "Hmm, sounds like a book for me!" Then I read through your review and wow. Just, wow. The 8% and 10% updates were enough to turn me off but I kept reading anyway and I can definitely say that I won't be reading this one. Thanks for the heads up!