The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler
Published by: Gallery Books
Published on: August 20, 2013
Page Count: 352
My Reading Format: ARC provided by NetGalley for my Kindle
Available Formats: Paperback and Kindle editions
Note: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS AND EXTREME OPINIONS
Esme is a 23-year-old PhD candidate at Columbia University in art history. A British native, she's been in busy New York City for a few months living alone in her apartment, attending lectures, writing papers and making a few friends. When the book begins she has been dating Mitchell for just a few months and realizes she's become pregnant. Mitchell, an economics teacher at a posh Manhattan private school, makes time for Esme only on his own schedule. When Esme finally meets up with him to share the news, he breaks up with her before he hears what she has to say. The secret is kept from him for some time while she decides how to proceed; then Mitchell comes back into the picture.
During all of this, Esme has landed a part-time job at a used book store near her apartment called The Owl. There she is the lone female among a cast of characters that fall into one of two categories: bookish or homeless. The group welcomes Esme and looks out for her during her pregnancy, warning her to stay clear of Mitchell. Mitchell and Esme's off-again-on-again relationship continues throughout the book until finally Esme must stand on her own.
I don't know that I've ever read a book where I am so angry at the characters right from the start that I decide I might need to stop reading. I didn't and maybe I should have. I kept hoping Mitchell would be less of a jerk and realize that Esme loved him and wanted him to be an active part of their child's life. I kept hoping Esme would come to her senses, grow up and stop letting Mitchell dictate their relationship. These things never happen. Mitchell continues to be one of the most detestable characters I've ever read about and Esme never does stop pining after him, which is a real shame because I really wanted to like this studious British young woman. I never could get past her naivete of believing that Mitchell would come around and all of her friends and family would also begin to like him. This isn't the case.
The book got slightly better and more well-written in the last third when Esme begins preparing for the birth of their baby on her own, and leaning more heavily on her friends at The Owl, particularly one of them named Luke (and I kept hoping they'd get together. Also not the case).
My preference for reading books about books, fun stories about women living life in the city, and serious stories about the choices characters have to make was what kept me pushing through. Unfortunately, this one just never delivered what I was hoping.
One out of five stars