Before I went on my long weekend I told you about some of the books that I was taking with me. One of them was The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I was looking forward to reading this because I had read a completely charming excerpt from it and my mom read it and loved it.
My mom and I don’t always love the same books but when it comes to books about books, we’re usually on the same page (ha).
It’s not that I didn’t like The Little Paris Bookshop. It was fine, I guess. I liked some parts of it but I’m not sure that they were enough for me to like the book overall.
You get me?
Let’s try to use some actual words here.
The Little Paris Bookshop is a bookshop on a barge on the Seine. Jean Perdu runs this barge and prides himself on being able to see what books people need when they come to him. The excerpt that I read (and I’m sorry to keep going on about this when I can’t seem to find it to link for you anymore!) was a scene where he tells a woman about the books that she needs. She gets angry at him because he tells her that the book she wants isn’t right for her, that it will only cause her to keep making the same terrible decisions and that actually she should read The Elegance of the Hedgehog (she should, that book is amazing. Have you read it yet? Put it on your list immediately). When I found out that Monsieur Perdu was grieving I thought excellent, now we’re going to get a story about the healing power of books.
In a sense that is what happens. After finding a letter from his lost love, he has a kind of break and drives the barge down rivers to the south of France. Along the way he gathers a cast of unlikely characters and gets into trouble or finds that pieces of his heart are starting to feel whole again.
It’s a nice story. It makes you feel nice. But that’s it. Just nice. And nice, when there are so many books out there that break parts of you off, that fundamentally change the way you see yourself or the world, is underwhelming.
The early parts of the book, when I still had high hopes for where this book was taking me, were lovely. Nina George obviously loves books. The dedication to her father who “left in mid sentence” was beautiful. George takes the trouble to create a whole Parisian building full of promising characters only to abandon them after less than 100 pages.
No, The Little Paris Bookshop didn’t change me. It was a nice read, that’s it.