The Blurb

The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

The Review

Firstly, I would like to thank Poppy Stimpson from Little Brown for sending me a review copy of The Little Paris Bookshop.

I will admit that I fell in love with the cover of this book which urged me to request a copy of it for review; the title also played a bit part. I love Paris and I love bookshops. This book seemed perfect for me. What I also got with this book is a medicine cabinet of cures. It simultaneously broke my heart and fixed it; made me smile and cry. The Little Paris Bookshop also made me feel content; the way a good book should. The Little Paris Bookshop is chock full of substance and style – it’s a double threat on that account.

The story centres around Jean and his life as a book seller or apothecary who owns a bookshop barge that sits placidly on the Seine. He is isolated but by choice until a new neighbour – the recently heartbroken Catherine – moves into his tenement and unknowingly forces him to confront his past; a past that has plagued him for the past twenty one years and forced him to live a life of solitude and grief. Having been knocked into action Jean Perdu sets out on a journey of discovery with a couple of friends and a couple of cats in tow.

Through this journey we see Jean Perdu grow, change and shed away some of the layers of coldness that he has used to keep people at arm’s length drop away. It is gorgeous to watch and to live each emotion with Jean.

This is the kind of novel that comes by once in a while and reminds you why you keep reading some of the poorer more hyped books; because every so often you come across a gem like The Little Paris Bookshop.

This is a story about the journey AND the destination. Both are intrinsic to the story and Nina George has not left you hanging on and wondering how it all ends. The story is complete and as you turn the final pages you will know that you have read something both magical and enchanting.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is available now.

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The Little Paris Bookshop

Synopsis

After finishing college, Piper Kerman started having adventures. She took off with her lover Nora, she jumped off cliffs, basically started living a reckless existence. Piper Kerman had little regard for the conventional rules when she was young and having fun. This unfortunately led to a one time drug money trafficking situation which came back to haunt her nearly ten years after the event.

Piper Kerman was incarcerated for 15 months. It was during those fifteen months (and with the help and love of her fellow inmates) that Kerman really began to truly understand what it means to live.

Review

I have to admit, my sole reason for reading this book is that I am desperate to watch the television series and since I have a weird OCD rule about not watching films or TV shows based on books before reading them, Orange is the New Black did get boosted up the TBR pile. Also, my aunty Susie was pretty insistent that I read and watch so she had someone to discuss the series with.

I think, like most people, I went into this book believing one thing about prisoners. People in the big house are bad. They have committed a crime and now they are doing time as a punishment. What I didn’t expect was the level of empathy and warmth I felt towards Kerman and her fellow inmates. Sure, the story was told with the perspective of a prisoner so it was unlikely that Kerman would be unnecessarily demonise her prison colleagues, however, what did become apparent is that, like Kerman herself, a lot of the women she shared prison life with were just victims of their own circumstance. Furthermore, they were the victims of a judicial system that doesn’t rehabilitate inmates to the best level.

However, Kerman does not bemoan her station in life; she doesn’t wallow in self pity and expect everyone to feel sorry for her. She knows the part she played in her incarceration and she owns it with honesty, balls and quite frankly a level of integrity that we should all aspire to have.

What Kerman manages to do so very excellently within Orange is the New Black is to raise awareness of the prison system in America, highlighting its very obvious flaws whilst respectfully understanding that she did commit a crime and acknowledging that she should pay for her sins. Hopefully the work that Piper Kerman has done since then – with this book amongst other things – will help to garner future reform for prisoners in the future.

Now, how do I download series one from NetFlix?

For more information on Piper Kerman please visit www.piperkerman.com

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman is available now.