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Book Lover Paperback – 7 August 2006
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- Publisher : Fourth Estate (7 August 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0007227248
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007227242
- Customer Reviews:
‘Stuffed with saucy literary asides, this is a book that name-checks dusty classics as frequently as hot labels. Yet it’s Dora who lifts it so far above the forest of pink-jacketed chick-lit: tart yet tender-hearted, she’s fully aware of the messiness that separates real life from literature.’ Daily Mail
‘Lovingly crafted and beautifully written…this is a book that navigates the fine line between fiction and reality, and which will be adored by women everywhere.’ Glamour
‘This book could change your life…a perfect mixture of comedy, tragedy and brilliantly eccentric characters, and even includes a reading list if you fancy expanding your literary horizons.’ ***** (5 stars) Heat
About the Author
Jennifer Kaufman was a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times for 10 years and is currently a freelance writer. Karen Mack is a film and television producer who has won Golden Globe and Emmy awards. Both live in Los Angeles and this is their first novel.
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Dora is obsessed with books and uses them to both hide from and try to make sense of her rapidly disintegrating life. I found it hard to get into the book and the character at first, partly due to the sheer numbers of literary allusions in the beginning - but something sparky in the story kept me going and I'm very glad I did.
After a while, I warmed to Dora and was very glad when things began (slowly!) to turn round for her. Her relationship with her ex, Palmer, is absolutely charming, and I loved him. In the course of the novel, Dora grows and begins to deal with friends and family more effectively, and I was really rooting for her by the time the story ended. The ending is almost perfect, although - being me! - I would have preferred a wee bit more emotion in those closing pages but, on the other hand, the subtlety works very well.
So good stuff and a book I recommend.
Well, up to that point it was all going well, for Dora and for the book! I was enjoying the literary banter and the bookish quotes, the references to wonderful-sounding novels and the little quirks that mark out a chronic book addict. I had bits of paper sticking out everywhere marking books I wanted to hunt down and sentiments I liked, and I was looking forward to seeing where this bookstore romance would end up. Except... well, it didn't really end up anywhere!
Essentially the book just tailed off. Additional storylines were added and discarded - a friend in hospital, the back story of Dora's parents' divorce - and the plot drifted on for a bit longer, then wham! I turned the page and suddenly I was in the epilogue! A confusing, inconclusive little epilogue which felt horribly like the authors had just gotten bored and plumped for the dreaded 'And then they went home for tea'-type ending...
So, not quite the bookish deliciousness I had hoped for. In fact, past a certain point the books pretty much disappeared from the story anyway, so it just became a fairly weak chick lit novel in the last third or so. I did like the extra little section at the back, with author interviews, a literary quiz, and a jumbled list of all the books mentioned throughout the novel, which was a nice touch. The verdict: I enjoyed it - it was a nice little read for a day off - but it could have been so much more.
Yes there are loads of literary references and a list of books and authors mentioned in the text but it somehow left me cold. I could not get interested in Dora's relationship with the book shop employee, Fred and I didn't really care what happened to their fledgling relationship.
On the plus side I can agree the book is well written and it was worth reading for the literary references and the interesting authors and books to follow up.
NB: Published under the title of 'Literacy and Longing in L.A.' in the US