Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Review: The Book Haters' Book Club

Title: The Book Haters' Book Club
Author: Gretchen Anthony

Publisher: 13th September 2022 by HarperCollins Australia - Park Row

Pages: 328 pages

Genre: contemporary 

My Rating: 3 cups


All it takes is the right book to turn a Book Hater into a Book Lover…

That was Elliott’s belief and the reason why he started The Book Haters’ Book Club - a newsletter of reading recommendations for the self-proclaimed “nonreader.” As the beloved co-owner of Over the Rainbow Bookstore, Elliott’s passion and gift was recommending books to customers. Now, after his sudden death, his grief-ridden business partner, Irma, has agreed to sell Over the Rainbow to a developer who will turn the cozy bookstore into high-rise condos.

But others won’t give up the bookstore without a fight. When Irma breaks the news to her daughters, Bree and Laney, and Elliott’s romantic partner, Thom, they are aghast. Over the Rainbow has been Bree and Laney’s sanctuary since childhood, and Thom would do anything to preserve Elliott’s legacy. Together, Thom, Bree and Laney conspire to save the bookstore, even if it takes some snooping, gossip and minor sabotage.

Filled with humor, family hijinks and actual reading recommendations, The Book Haters' Book Club is the ideal feel-good read. It’s a celebration of found family and a love letter to the everyday heroes who run bookstores.

My Thoughts

The Book Haters' Book Club had me at the title as books about books always lure me in. This particular story involves not just books but also a bookshop and the family drama that surrounds it. A quirky tale with a love of the written word woven throughout bringing it altogether. The title comes from Elliott's newsletter which provides book suggestions for people who are looking for inspiration or recommendations. 

‘The Book Haters' Book Club Newsletter

Issue #1

June 1989

Hello readers,

This is Elliot Gregory, daredevil bookseller at the Over the Rainbow Bookshop, here to announce a grand new endeavor: a monthly newsletter full of book recommendations for non-bookish people.’

There are many enjoyable aspects to this tale although it does take some time to lure you in. The ‘commercial breaks’ and ‘newsletters’ (I enjoyed Elliot’s narratives here) were amusing but the main focus is on the family and how our choices and decisions can change the direction of our lives. The story is told from a number of POV allowing a variety of alternatives as to how people deal with grief in their own unique way. I didn't love it as much as I had hoped. I feel the biggest issue surrounding this novel is pacing - just too slow, especially at the beginning. 

‘We book people can be awful, prickish snobs. Why is a yummy romance any less worthy of a reader's love than the latest New York literary sweetheart? I say if a certain type of book isn't your preferred cocktail, darling, simply put down the glass and order something new. You don't have to act as if you've been poisoned.’

The Book Haters' Book Club is a drama with some mystery. There are laughs (some slightly cheesy) with some rather quirky characters. All up it is lighthearted and of course, so very bookish! Elliot’s newsletters and the book recommendations are a definite highlight. This is the tale of a family, warts and all, and the different ways we handle grief, all wrapped up in the power of books to see you through the many ups and downs of life. 

‘That's the magic of being a bookseller: every day, you have the potential to change someone's life. It's true. It's why I spent my career trying to place brave characters into the hands of a person in need of courage; searched for stories that might bring light to those whose hearts were shared in darkness.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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