|I love stories about people who love books, like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I bought Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner for that reason.
However, I found myself simultaneously annoyed by the writing while seeing a bit of myself in the main character. When I read “She just hadn’t met anyone who compared to the heroes of the books she loved. A Mr. Darcy, or a Heathcliff, or even, in the right mood, a Christian Gray,” I did an eye roll Liz Lemon would be proud of.
First of all, Heathcliff was an emotionally (and possibly physically) abusive asshole. He couldn’t get Cathy so he basically manipulated and tortured another woman and abused their son. Oh, he also killed puppies. But who wouldn’t want a man like that? Oh, and Christian Gray? A character written by a woman who doesn’t understand BDSM and thus wrote a character who is abusive instead of kinky? Well then, sign me up! I’m tired of the characterization of book nerds who are incredibly socially awkward, who have their nose in a book ALL THE TIME, who are waiting around for a significant other that exists only in books, and who don’t like real people — only characters. I love books and even though I’m a literature scholar, I’m very capable of of having meaningful conversations that aren’t about books, I have decent social skills (even if I don’t always like people), and I sometimes can go (at most) 2 weeks without reading something. However, I do acknowledge that I’m a major daydreamer, I own a whole lot of books and will only buy a place that can fit those books, I believe books can help change lives, and, like the main character, I wouldn’t mind having great sex with a sexy Scottish man who lives in the Highlands and occasionally wears kilts. I may also be guilty of romanticizing Mr. Rochester, particularly as Michael Fassbender portrayed him (he was nicer to Jane).
So, I’m torn. I gave this book 3/5 on Goodreads, because while there were many eye-rolling moments, it was a nice, fluffy summer read. And now, I want to go to the Highlands and drink some whiskey with bearded Scottish men.