BOOK REVIEW | The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

BOOK REVIEW | The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Hello, friends! My name is Sarah and today
we’re talking about “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George. The story follows a man
named Monsieur Jean Perdu, who runs a bookshop barge on the River Seine
called the Literary Apothecary and uses his intuition into exactly what a person
needs to prescribe them books for the ailments which nothing else can cure.
Despite his ability to mend the broken hearts of many using books, he seems
unable to heal his own from its greatest loss when his dearest love left him over
20 years ago, leaving nothing but a letter. One day he finally reads the letter and
sets sails with a bestselling but blocked author to make peace with his past and
see how the story ends. I would describe this as sort of a
combination of a coming-of-age story 20 years later and a reckoning with having
loved and lost. The reason I would describe it as sort of a coming-of-age
story is because, at the time that Jean Perdu’s love left him, he effectively put
his life on hold for the next 20 years until he reads this letter and it sets
him off on this journey. As he progresses down the river with this bestselling
author and this chef, it’s really about all of them, particularly Jean Perdu
coming to terms with having loved someone and lost them, and finally
learning after 20 years what the end of the story is. My official rating for this
book was 4.5 stars. It took me a little while to decide how I felt about it, but
the more that I thought about it, really, it’s just a lovely story. It’s very
unique and I really, really loved the way that it was written, the characters…
there was a lot that I loved about it so the reason that I wound up taking the
half star off of it was sex is a big part of the relationship that Jean Perdu
has with his great love that he has lost and while I don’t have an issue with
sex in books, necessarily, the way that George talked about certain things
didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the story. I would describe this in many ways
as a very lyrical book. The prose is very lovely and very flowy and almost like
poetry at certain points and, just the language that she
used to talk about certain things regarding the relationship between
Purdu and his love just didn’t…it didn’t seem to fit in the book, and for
that reason, I couldn’t quite give it my full, 5 star, I love this thing to pieces rating.
One thing that I was pleasantly surprised about is this book
was originally written in German and translated into English a few years
later and very rarely have I come across a book that’s been translated
from some other language into English that flows in a way that you would hope
it would. There tends to always be turns of phrases or words choices that are a
little bit awkward, and you can sort of tell that maybe that’s not the original
intent that the author had, but when it was translated into English, just
something didn’t click in the translation and I did not find that to
be the case at all with this book. In fact, like I said, I really did find the
quality of the prose in this book to be very lyrical and elegant, and it just
flowed in a very lovely, wonderful manner. And one of the things that I really
loved about this book is how quotable it was. And I know that sounds kind of weird
and I don’t mean quotable in the sense that we think of like movies being
quotable, where there’s these like one-liner, pithy phrases and stuff, but I mean it in
the sense that there are so many sentences and phrases and paragraphs
where you read it and you just want to capture it and remember it, and I keep a
running note on my phone of quotes that I like from books that I love, and
especially in the beginning of this book, I felt like I was stopping every other
page to write down a quote because there were just so many wonderful turns of
phrases and ideas and metaphors that George puts throughout this whole story.
The thing that really wound up selling me on this book and making me give it the
4.5 star rating that I did was the character development. You see
so much growth in the characters, especially in Purdu, but also in Max and Salvo, and
they all have such unique personalities, their idiosyncrasies come to the forefront
in many situations through the story and there are so many just really lovely
interactions, particularly between Purdu and Max earlier on in the story. You see
Purdu start to sort of warm up to Max because he doesn’t really want Max to
come on this journey with him, but eventually they sort of develop this
father/son bond and it’s really, really neat to see how that affects both of
them, how they both are really able to learn from each other, how Purdu is able
to learn from Max’s inexperience and therefore much more open view of life
and love and the world, and how Max is able to learn from Purdu in the way
that he has so passionately and deeply loved this woman for 20 years, even
though she’s been gone for that long. And it’s just really, really neat to see the
ways that George developed these really unique characters, but still stuck them
all in this world. And I wouldn’t really call this story a page-turner by any
means. I read it a lot slower than I read some books in the last couple of months,
but I just…I loved the characters and I think that’s one of the reasons I gave
it such a high rating is… I obviously read, you know, sci-fi and fast-paced
books and all of these things, but the stories that have always been my
favorite, the stories that have always captured my imagination are not plot-driven
books, but character-driven books, and this, 100%, is a character-driven book, and I just so loved pretty much everything about this story. The other thing that I really, really
loved about this book is it’s effectively a love letter to books. You
see that in see that in Purdu’s character and how
he, you know, prescribed stories for people when there’s nothing else that
can help them, and there are so many wonderful…just quotes and phrases and
ideas that George puts forth. The thing that I loved is, even though the main
thing that the characters sort of deal with – that…this idea of reckoning with
loss and love and life and loving and losing and all these things – even though
that’s really the main thing that the characters are dealing with, the
sort of overarching theme that George puts forth into this book is the power
that stories have to change lives and heal hearts and affect people in ways
that literally nothing else in this world can and I have long been a
believer of that fact. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I love to read and
I love to write, because I very, very strongly believe in the power of story
and have witnessed in my own life the way a book has been able to change my
perspective in a way that nothing else can. And there are so many wonderful
phrases about books that I just…I absolutely adore, and I will probably be
referencing them for years and years to come. So there you have it, friends. That is my review
of “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George. I hope you enjoyed hearing my thoughs and opinions.
If you have read the book, I would love to hear what you thought of it, or if you might
pick it up after hearing my thoughts, I would love to hear that as well.
Thank you again so much for watching. I really hope you enjoyed this video
and I will see you next time. Bye!! Whenever Monsieur Perdu looked at a book,
he did not see it purely in terms of the story, minimum retail price, and an
essential balm for the soul. He saw freedom on the wings of paper.

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  1. For reasons I can't explain, this book reminds me a lot of Chocolat. And now I want to reread Chocolat. Because it's amazing.

  2. If you haven't read The Remains of the Day by Hayao Ishiguro, I think it may remind you of this story some. I will have to check this out!

  3. I was really impressed with how well the translation was too! It flowed so well. What were some of your favorite quotes?

  4. Sometimes I wonder whether authors add these uncharacteristic (to the novel) sex scenes solely at their publishers' insistence. I know for a fact from my research about the literary scene here in India that a racy scene or two increase the likelihood of your book being picked up for publishing tenfold. In fact, unless you're an established author there are "formulae" you're expected to conform to in your writing…and these often involve at least some semblance of love/sex in the plot, regardless of whether it adds to the story.
    It's sad, but it's what sells. 🙁

  5. I was given this book as a gift and have never looked for a book review on youtube til now and I'm so glad I did…now I can't wait to read it…Thank you!!

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