“Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor — not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.
There’s a book for every person … and a person for every book.”
My Thoughts: Let’s face it. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is not an example of fine literature. The characters are one-dimensional; in fact, they are practically caricatures of every small-town inhabitant ever written. The plot is highly predictable; there really is not much that will surprise any reader. The pacing is incredibly rushed; it is as if Ms. Bivald was in a tremendous hurry to finish her story. There is a bit of a lecture to the whole story, as Sara and the town members provide the examples for not living life to its fullest. Even worse, the story seems to not-so-gently mock life in the small-town Midwest with their unique rituals and rivalries. All of this should be enough for me to say that this is a book to avoid at all costs. However, that is just not true. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. You need to get your hands on a copy and read this delightful book as soon as possible.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend shamelessly panders to those who absolutely adore books, and that is where a large portion of the story’s charm lies. Readers will relate to Sara being caught sniffing a book. They will flash back to their own memories of beloved characters and novels about which Sara waxes poetic. They will instantly recognize Sara’s need to seek solace within a book’s pages and her desire for a vacation to do nothing but read. Moreover, book bloggers everywhere will also appreciate the idea of Sara traveling to a different country to finally meet what others would consider a perfect stranger. Ms. Bivald captures the book blogger community so well with Sara and Amy’s long-distant relationship. What she depicts is so very representative of the entire community, the ease with which we make friends around the globe over a common love of reading and our desire to meet each other in person whenever possible. While some readers may find this somewhat far-fetched, those of us who have traveled cross-country to meet each other know otherwise.
The fact that Ms. Bivald is so deft at reminding readers of the power and pleasures of reading makes this a novel that book lovers must read in spite of all of its faults. The bookstore Sara creates is idyllic in its perfection. Better still are the books she chooses for the town members and their reactions to those books. Sara refers to each book so reverently and so lovingly that it makes you want to make a list of every book referenced and read them all again. Similarly, Sara’s passion for finding the right book for an individual makes you want to find that perfect book for someone in your own life. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend makes you proud to be a member of the book lover community, and there is no better way to start out the new year than reading a novel that is all about celebrating books.