Title: The Bookshop on Jacaranda Street
Author: Marlish Glorie
Genre: Chick Lit/Australian Author
It’s never too late to run away from home! Helen burns her bed and her bridges when she leaves home to run a second hand bookshop. But can you ever really discard the past? For starters there are thousands of musty books to sort through. Then her sons return home with more baggage than a Qantas 747 and on top of all that the drunk who sold her the bookshop is determined to muscle his way back into the business. Helen desperately wants life to be a literary novel but it’s looking more and more like a pile of pulp fiction. As quirky characters browse the shelves of her bookshop, Helen fights for the right to choose a future that is not yet written.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the story of this dysfunctional family as the layers of their unhappiness were slowly peeled off. After the death of their first-born son Helen retreated into the perfection of the classic literary world while her husband Arnold creates a huge junk yard which eventually enveloped their home. Neither wants to give up the security blanket of their obsession until one day Helen has enough:
“…Shortly after five in the morning Helen Budd-Doyle chopped her bed to smithereens, manufacturing a million toothpicks, sufficient kindling for a week, pulp enough to make sixty rolls of toilet paper, and a thick layer of mulch for the garden bed – how ironic was that, she thought. Her bed could be all these things, yet could not provide her with one decent night of sleep…”
I worried that a book about a family torn apart by unhappiness would be a depressing read, but it is far from depressing – poignant certainly but depressing? Not at all. There is hope scattered all through the plot – the hope that maybe, just maybe life can turn around and change if you really want it to, but perhaps not in a way you plan. Helen learns that life is not like a book with a neat solution at the end; Arnold learns that he can’t hide behind piles of junk and the two boys turn their lives around as well.
My only complaint is that of the Rottweilers and their fate – poor little puppies – as a past breeder and trainer of Rotties I can only say that if they were in real life and not fiction, and if they had been trained correctly from puppyhood, then this would not happen. I was saddened that the author did this to them, although I am sure she had her reasons.
Rating: B = Really Good Read
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