The Bookstore

The Bookstore - Deborah Meyler Centralized on womanhood and books, The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler focuses on Esme Garland, a British student studying in New York who finds herself in a quagmire - pregnant and jilted. Dejected by Mitchell van Leuven her blue-blooded boyfriend, Esme resorts to working in quaint bookstore, The Owl. Though she finds solace in the microcosm the bookstore provides, Esme has a lot to consider. Whether it is keeping the baby or giving Mitchell a second chance, readers see the various choices that Esme has to make as she progresses. Though reading of her Esme's hardships never bored me, The Bookstore failed to leave any sort of an impression on me - as much as it tried to.Studious and charming, Esme is quite the witty character who is studying for her PhD in Art History at Columbia University. With an inherent sarcasm, readers are led to believe that she thrives in independence. Throughout the rest of The Bookstore though, readers are presented with a main character who is fickle and dependent. One example that accentuates this is her constant back-and-forth with Mitchell. Arrogant and disloyal, Mitchell shows blatant signs that he is not in love with her. He is simply a mass manipulator, and seeing Esme duped by his ostensible charm left me frustrated. One moment Esme never wants to date Mitchell again, the next she is eating dinner in a five-star restaurant with him. Because of this I could not enjoy Esme's inherent sarcasm and wittiness. I feel that they failed to genuinely compliment her character.Despite her poor decision-making, reading of her progress, even at its retrogressive points, was intriguing. At times, she did redeem herself by taking control of her life.Esme's coworkers at The Owl are quite flat. Though they are secondary characters, they are active throughout the plot. One would expect characterization of advantage. Unfortunately, I did not learn too much about them at all. Whatever traits were presented ending up being drilled. The owner George is a chatty vegan, who deems The Owl an antiquated bookstore, and not a secondhand one.Luke, who serves as a potential love interest for Esme, is very shady. He keeps to himself and his guitar, and when he does talk to Esme it is about music. Readers do see him progress from his reservedness as he assists Esme when she is sick due to her pregnancy. Mitchell is the cliche rich boy living off inheritance and being an arrogant asshat to all. He is possessive and selfish, disloyal and proud. He is an unlikeable character, and stereotypical at that. These overall qualities of the secondary characters were repetitively portrayed, to the point where their presence became boring and predictable. I did enjoy the dynamics provided by this array of quirky characters though.A major aspect that really irked me throughout The Bookstore, besides its wishy-washy characterization, was its showiness that is reflected in the narrative and dialogue writing. Simply put, The Bookstore suffers from unnecessary verbosity. Though I am enthusiastic about expanding my vocabulary, I found the writing to be pretentious. At times, even archaic words were used in dialogue which read unnaturally. Eloquence is beautiful, but in The Bookstore it is overdone - as if it exists to impress and to sound cultured.  Ironically, sometimes, the dialogue is very juvenile and rudimentary, lacking creative words, such as the constant use of "say" and its variations when identifying interlocutors. This clunky writing definitely slowed down the novel's pace. The most basic actions, become incoherent, droning sentences. It felt like just too much detail. Sometimes though, a passage exhibiting ornate, yet powerful writing appears:"One age might pass over what another prized, and the next age might then revere it. Museums and libraries are in place, of course, to keep them safe through the neglect, but the museums and libraries have a flotilla of insignificant vessels that are just as vital. Secondhand bookshops are some of the tugs that can bring the bounty safely to harbor. The Owl is small, and it is definitely shabby, but it is tinged with lofty purpose."-Location 78 of 4185 (uncorrected proof)For some, such metaphors are unnecessary, but for me, with moderation they can show an author's masterful use of language. Literary allusions and bookish peeves are reveal themselves and are sure to leave readers chuckling when they can relate, and intrigued where they cannot. Overall though, the writing in The Bookstore lacks fluidity and naturalness due to its long windedness.In a nutshell, The Bookstore did leave my eyes glazing with its insipid characters and writing for most of the time. It was slow-paced and pretentious. However, I did like being taken into a realm of literature extended by the Owl. It did not grip me, but I was comfortable in a complex way. It also presents challenges that are definitely realistic, such as Esme's unexpected pregnancy and the increasing outflow of brick-and-mortar bookstores.