I’m behind on my book reviews again. I have at least 3 books to review, including this one. I want to say there’s 4, but I can’t even remember anymore.
The Little Paris Bookshop has a great premise – A bookstore owner has the ability to prescribe just the right type of book to customers, and he sells his books according to customers’ needs, not their wants. For instance, a customer came looking for the latest bestseller, but the owner, Jean, decided that would be detrimental to her mental health and offered to sell her other books. He seems to be able to offer a book prescription for everyone except himself. Sounds like the perfect book for a bibliophile! Unfortunately, the book prescription part played a pretty small role in the book itself.
His big problem is that he was in love with a married woman and she left him. She left him a letter, which he left unopened for years and years and years (you can probably see where this is going because I did). Spoiler ahead. Don’t read anymore if you don’t want spoilers.
It turns out that the letter tells Jean that she’s dying and would like him to come see her. He puts the letter into a table and forgets about it until he gives the table away to a female neighbor. The female neighbor finds the letter, tells him about it, he hems and haws and decides to read it after he and the female neighbor have a sexual encounter.
I really hated most of the beginning of the book (other than the part where he prescribed books). I thought that the letter from the dying lover and the encounter with the female neighbor were too predictable and everything was too much like a soap opera.
The part where he goes on his journey with his neighbor, Max, was much more interesting. Along the way, they pick up a third companion for their voyage. All three have issues that they’re dealing with – Max is an author who has writer’s block, Jean is dealing with the death of a loved one (he shut his emotions down and never allowed himself to grieve for the ending of the relationship and then learned about the death from the letter so he was having to deal with both issues on this voyage), and the third person is looking for a love that doesn’t exist.
I enjoyed reading about their voyage and the lessons that they learned along the way. At times, the book got a little “preachy.” This isn’t a book that I would reach for again any time soon, but I don’t feel that I wasted my time reading it. At the end of the book, there are recipes (I haven’t tried any of them so I have no idea if they’re any good) and book prescriptions. I found the book prescriptions fun to read.
This book seemed to be trying to decide whether it was a guide to getting over loss and whether it was a book for book lovers. It would have been a better book if it had actually been 2 books – have Jean deal with the loss in this book and have the sequel be how he prescribes books and how being a doctor for the soul leads him to adventures with his new love.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.