Monday, September 10, 2012

My take on: The Book Lover

How could I not read a book titled The Book Lover? A book about people who love books is right up my alley. Lucinda "Lucy" Barrett and Ruth Hardaway both have a passion for books. But both of them are at a crossroads in their life. Lucy's marriage has failed, and the only thing she has to hold onto is her dream of being an author. Ruth has devoted her life to her children and her book store, but the store is facing financial ruin. Before they can think about the future, both women will have to face their pasts in The Book Lover by Maryann McFadden.

For years Lucy and her husband, David, have been going through the motions. David is "focused" on his career. He is really focused on gambling away their savings and ruining his business. Despite constant rejection, Lucy is determined to become a published author. After the death of their infant son Ben, Lucy and David have yet to deal with the pain. Five years have passed, but Ben is an unspoken topic between the two of them. Her book, A Quiet Wanting, gives Lucy something to live for. Rather than waiting for an agent or publisher, Lucy self-publishes her novel. Her dream won't happen if she doesn't take the extra push. When the law catches up to David, Lucy sets out on a cross-country journey to not only promote her book, but to deal with her demons.

Ruth has a passion for books, but that passion isn't enough to keep her business afloat. For decades, Ruth has devoted her life to her book store, The Book Lover, and her children. It's hard for Ruth to take time for herself. She's a mother, a therapist, a social worker, and a business woman. A secret friendship with Thomas, a convicted felon, are the only times Ruth can let her hair down. Thomas and Ruth can not only talk about their problems freely, but they also share a love for literature. Their relationship is a secret Ruth isn't willing to share with her children or friends. She's afraid of being judged. She's afraid her children will want to butt into their relationship.

Lucy and Ruth's path inevitable cross each other. When Ruth discovers A Quiet Wanting, she becomes like a second mother to Lucy. Ruth gives Lucy a chance to recharge her batteries at her lakeside cabin. All Ruth wants in exchange, is for Lucy to look after her son Colin. Why would a grown man need looking after? Colin is a recovering Iraqi war veteran, who is paralyzed from the waist down. Despite Colin insisting that he is fine, Ruth feels the need to keep tabs on him. Colin is hard to figure out sometimes. One day he is happy, one day he is moody. Despite the mixed emotions, Colin and Lucy form a friendship. When that friendship becomes more, you wonder how will this last? Lucy is still reeling from her failed marriage. Out on the lake, the two of them are in their own world. What happens when they come back to reality? Has Lucy truly thought about what a relationship with Colin really entails? She could end up being a lover and a caretaker for Colin.

Lucy is supposed to be looking out for Colin, not falling in love with him. If Ruth finds out the truth, their friendship could be in jeopardy. This is the part I didn't quite like about the book. Ruth comes across as a very caring and understanding person. She learns to accept Thomas, why can't she accept Lucy and Colin's relationship. Yes Lucy was supposed to live near Colin for other reasons, but they are ADULTS!! Just like Ruth doesn't want others to judge her relationship with Thomas, they same principle should apply for Colin and Lucy.

Overall, this a good read. If you love books, you will love this. I don't know the ins and outs of getting a book published (not yet that's what grad school is for), but Lucy's journey is very insightful. For Lucy, the journey to publication is a roller coaster ride. As soon as a bookseller hears the words "self-published," Lucy is met with skepticism. She gets good reviews, but there are also bad reviews. She has to tell herself that bad reviews are not the end of the world. If she keeps pushing, her dream will come true. Ruth has always pursued her dream. If she didn't have the store, what would she do? It's more than just a store, it's like a member of the family. She can't let go of the store without a fight.  The ending is wrapped up a little quickly, but if you love happy endings you won't be disappointed.

Rating: Superb

Notes: I received a copy of the book from Kelley and Hall in exchange for an honest review. I started grad school and I'm interning at a literary agency, so bare with me. I'm reading a lot, but during the semester my posting will be sporadic.

1 comment:

  1. It is a good read. A nice take on the odyssey of getting your book published.