Sunday 14 February 2016

Book Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

I noticed this book in an airport book store over the holidays and was immediately attracted by the title.  It is a book about books with a funny beginning; the perfect fit for any book lover.

Sara Lindqvist is a 28-year-old woman from Sweden who has recently lost her job as a book store clerk.  Prior to this loss, she traded books and letters with Amy Harris, an older woman from Broken Wheel, Iowa.  She decides to visit Amy and take her first trip to the U.S.  Only, when she arrives, Amy has died.

In a charming and not-quite-believable way, the town of Broken Wheel takes care of Sara and insists she stay in Broken Wheel without allowing her to pay for anything.  Sara feels bad for getting everything for free and searches for a way to repay the town for their kindness and generousity.  The town has been hit hard by the economic downturn and has lost its school and most of its inhabitants.  The only solution is to open up a book store.

This was a very enjoyable book with a fairytale-like setting, characters, beginning and ending.  The author's own love of books is evident throughout and made me want to read or reread the books she referenced.  Jane Austen fans will especially enjoy the chapter Mrs Hurst (Books 4: Life 0).  Speaking of which, this book had great chapter titles.  I appreciate chapters with titles.  I've done this a few times in my writing and it takes more thought and effort than simply numbering chapters.  It can also be rewarding for the reader and writer to find the connection between the title and chapter.

This is a translation from Swedish to English and it was sometimes obvious that the translator is not American.  There are British spellings and turns of phrase that were occasionally jarring in a book set in Iowa.  I noticed things like the spelling of tyres, the reference to a "hob" instead of a stove, and frequent mention of being "mad" when an American would say "crazy".  I also wondered that there weren't more comments on the differences in how Sara spoke or acted based on her Swedish background.  I thought this would be more noticeable in a small town like Broken Wheel.

Despite these tiny irritations, I liked the book and would recommend it to other fiction-book lovers looking for a happy ending.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun plot idea, but I think the Brit-isms would make me crazy! I still remember how mad I got reading a book set in NY but written by a British author (the book was The Girl Next Door I think?) and the New Yorkers using all the British slang and such made me just nuts. I feel your pain!