Book Review by Michelle Goetzl
“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only … A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”
Such is the life of Jean Perdu, a self-proclaimed literary apothecary and protagonist in Nina George’s novel, “The Little Paris Bookshop.” From his floating bookstore on the banks of the river Seine, Perdu recommends books by having a special ability to match books to readers by whatever ails them. Unfortunately, the doctor cannot always heal himself and is unable to figure out what will soothe his own soul.
It’s a sentimental story of three men trying to find themselves. Perdu is the main focus of the story and the one with the biggest hurdles. He is haunted by the heartbreak of the love of his life walking out on him 20 years earlier. The only thing that she left behind is a letter that he has never opened. Perdu is joined by Max Jordan, a young author trying to run away from his recent fame, and Salvatore Cuneo, a jack of all trades searching for his own lost love.
While “The Little Paris Bookshop” is not what I expected, it is still charming and definitely worth the read. The book talks about the healing properties of literature. That said, author Nina George also makes a strong case that without others to enjoy our lives with, we are only living half of a life. When Perdu’s love walks out on him, he emotionally shuts down, and it takes a singular event shaking him to his core to wake him up to the world around him.
The book is set in flashbacks from Perdu’s perspective as well as from journal entries that his lost love, Manon, wrote.
While Perdu copes with a broken heart, the relationships that grow are vital. Perdu comes to understand himself more through writing letters back to a woman who lives across the hall from him.
This charming novel soothes like a good romantic comedy.