Book #21 for 2015
I wasn’t really expecting much from this book. I thought the premise (curmudgeonly widower rears child mysteriously left in his care) sounded gimmicky, and I certainly didn’t expect to warm to AJ’s character. However, I wound up identifying with AJ quite a bit, and the story turned the gimmick itself on its head. The plot is complex enough to be interesting and not so much that it’s overwhelming, but the story is ultimately not about the plot. It’s about books, their homes, their people, and the relationships and communities that they help to build.
It took me a while to notice, but the literary commentaries at the start of each chapter are not mere side notes. They are integral pieces of the story. Like the book as a whole, until you really read them, they are easy to dismiss as fluff, but to do so would be a mistake. They provide a sound structural basis for this quiet gem of a novel.