Title: The Bookshop
Summary:This, Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel, was her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is set in a small East Anglian coastal town, where Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. 'She had a kind heart, but that is not much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.'
Hardborough becomes a battleground, as small town so easily do. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result she has to take on no only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. This is a story for anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.
My Rating: 7/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: This novella was fairly good, but not my favourite read, the overall story was well done, and it is a quick little read. A good choice if you’re looking for a book about books themed read, or just a quick read on a rainy day.
My overall impressions are mixed; the author is good story teller, and the concept of the story interested me, but the cast of characters weren’t the most interesting. And some of them I despised for their actions. I liked the idea of the woman setting out, reaching for a goal and accomplishing it on her own (during this time 1959-1960, this was somewhat of a feat) which was creating her own little bookshop, (a dream I myself have), but there was just something missing, a little piece that would have made this a good book go to a fantastic book. It might have been because it was so short, so not a lot can happen, especially character wise, but I felt something was missing.
The author is a good writer. I don’t have anything bad to say about the writing style/storytelling. She managed to create a well rounded story, in such a short book. I’ll have to check out more of her books, and see if they are also novellas, because she seems to have a knack for it. Character development set aside, the book won’t be a disappointing story without it, but if you’re looking for a more character based book, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a well written novella, than this is the book.
The ending was good, bad and sad all at once. I wasn’t disappointed with the ending, I think it worked well with the book, but I wasn’t happy with it, or more so the characters involved. I wanted to yell at them. And I’ve already said too much, if you want to know what I mean, read the book. It’s a great choice for the Bibliophilic Challenge.
Overall, it’s a good choice for a quick read, and a good book about books, and a woman who dared to open a bookstore.
Would I recommend it to read: If you're looking for a novella, or a book about books theme book then yes. It has strengths in both of those areas. If you're a person who enjoys character based/heavy books, than it isn't the best choice. Worth a try especially if you have an hour or two to kill.
What to read next: Hmm. I'm not sure. I'd say more books by the author.
Challenges: Read 'n' Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, Bibliophilic Challenge, RYOB Challenge