The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Review
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This is a book about books! What’s not to love?!
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
by: Katarina Bivald
Published: January 19, 2016
Warning: once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
This is a book about books. All sorts of books, from Little Women and Harry Potter to Jodi Picoult and Jane Austen, from to Stieg Larsson to Joyce Carol Oates to Proust. It’s about the joy and pleasure of books, about learning from and escaping into them, and possibly even hiding behind them. It’s about whether or not books are better than real life.
It’s also a book about a Swedish girl called Sara, her elderly American penfriend Amy and what happens when you land a very different kind of bookshop in the middle of a town so broken it’s almost beyond repair.
Or is it?
The Readers of Broken Wheel has touches of 84 Charing Cross Road, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Chocolat, but adds an off-beat originality and intelligence all its own.
Ok, so I really wanted to love this book. But I just can’t.
But. I did like a few things about this book. I loved that Sara opened her own bookstore. She sort of came out of her shell, and had some fun. She finally did something no one expected. Her character is someone I could be friends with, if she were real. She’s so sweet, easy to relate to, and she has read more books than you could possibly imagine. She would have a recommendation for anyone and everyone!
I love small towns. I like the fact that everyone knows each other, and there is never any neglect for support. Everyone is friendly and they welcome outsiders. Broken Wheel, Iowa was no exception to this. Everywhere you look, in the book, there was another description of the town, and how truly small it was. Yet, there are other descriptions of how each person sort of takes to Sara, and they show her the ways of small town life.
The premise sounds like it should be amazing, and it should be. However, I feel there was too much plot, not enough conflict, and it moved at a agonizing pace. It doesn’t hold any surprises, which saddened me. Although, I do have to admit, that when this goes live, I will only be at 80% of the book. I’m writing this Sunday night, at 10 pm. I have been reading it for 3.5 weeks. That is the longest I’ve spent on a book in a long time. I adore the fact that it is an ode to books, but there’s so many characters. I know, small town equals tons of characters. But. Each character appears every other page. It would go back and forth between the secondary characters and Sara, the main character. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it focused on a few of the characters, instead of almost every person in town.
One thing that really got to me is the fact that when Sara arrived, she was informed that Amy had died. Now that I totally get; they had no other way to reach her. But once she finds out, she doesn’t leave! I would have been so weirded out, and it would have been awkward. The person I flew across the world to see, is now dead. I probably would have left the next day, especially after seeing how desolate the town is. Take me to another city in the US please.
Hopefully, I will try to finish this up when I am not pressed for time.
**I have received a copy in exchange for my honest review, provided by NetGalley.
#1 INDIE NEXT GREAT READ January 2016
#2 LibraryReads Picks
Midwest Connections Pick February 2016
“Touching and lively, Bivald’s genuine homage to the power of books vibrates with fondness for small-town life and fascination with its indelible connections.”
“[A] heartwarming and utterly charming debut novel by Swedish author Bivald…. This gentle, intelligent Midwestern tale will captivatefans of Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook, Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, and Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. An ideal book group selection, it reminds us why we are book lovers and why it’s nice to read a few happy endings.”
— Library Journal (STARRED)
“Between the book references and the idyllic setting, readers won’t want to leave Broken Wheel, either.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Bivald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is perfection. Every word on every page is sheer perfection. I haven’t been this in love with a book in ages! Sara has traveled all the way from Sweden to meet her pen pal Amy in Broken Wheel, Iowa, only to discover Amy has recently passed away. The townspeople of Broken Wheel quickly adopt Sara as one of their own and what follows is one of the loveliest and endearing books I’ve encountered in ages! I’ll carry this book in my heart for years to come.”
-Bess Bleyaert, McLean & Eakin (Petoskey, MI)
“This heartwarming story is the answer for those who loved The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. Book lovers will applaud Sara and her love of books. Book clubs will delight in this delightful caper through book-loving middle America. Read this and smile!”
—Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault (Oskaloosa, IA)
“LOVED IT! Readers will cheer for Sara and all the residents of Broken Wheel as a friendship that began with An Old Fashioned Girl renews and offers hope to an entire town.”
—Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library (Flemington, NJ)
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading [this book]. The descriptive language was wonderful.”
—Lesley Marshall, Perry Branch Library (Gilbert, AZ)
If you love books about books, don’t hesitate to check this one out! Then let me know what you think.
If you’ve read it, what did you think? Do you agree?
- January 25, 2016
- 2 Comment