As a bibliophile, I can’t resist a book that is about books or in which books play an important role in the story. I was drawn to this book by the title alone because it was clear that books provided at least the setting for the story even if they didn’t play into the story itself. Well, to my enjoyment, they did both.
Jean Perdu is a man who owns a floating bookstore, the Literary Apothecary, in which he uses books as a prescription for whatever someone may be experiencing at the time – heartbreak, love, and growing up to name a few. I loved this character because he was unique and honest with people. He not only loved books but appreciated them. Unfortunately, Jean could not prescribe something for his own broken heart. Upon finally reading a letter his love had sent him twenty years earlier after she disappeared on him, Monsieur Perdu quickly sets sail on the Literary Apothecary to find the healing he has longed for. Interesting supporting characters are introduced along the way as he prescribes his book “medicine” to those he meets throughout his journey.
This book was, in a word, different. I found it to be intriguing, romantic, and surprising but I’m having difficulty placing it in a specific category such as a love story or an adventure story. The terms that come to mind when I reflect on this book are soul searching and healing. The book itself is beautifully written, with the language flowing like liquid poetry across the pages. There were so many favorite passages that I could not pick just one, so I have selected the following:
“‘Books were my friends,’ said Catherine, and cooled her cheek, which was red from the heat of cooking, on her wineglass. ‘I think I learned all my feelings from books. In them I loved and laughed and found out more than in my whole nonreading life.’”
“Whenever Monsieur Perdu looked at a book, he did not see it purely in terms of a story, minimum retail price and an essential balm for the soul; he saw freedom on wings of paper.”
“‘The trouble is that so many people, most of them women, think they have to have a perfect body to be loved. But all it has to do is be capable of loving – and being loved,’ he added.”
That is just a small peek of many poetic passages in this book. I suspect that I will find myself quoting this book for some time and that the next time I read it, I will discover even more favorite passages that speak to my heart. I highly recommend this book. I have yet to find someone who has been disappointed with it. The Little Paris Bookshop is available in bookstores now.