This review is for the audio version of this book. As a public service announcement, I recommend that you check in with your local library to see if they support OneClickdigital or other apps that let you download audiobooks to your smartphone via library membership. I have listened to a lot of hot bestsellers this way for free! Free!
The Little Paris Book Shop is about a lot of things: the love of books, the art of living, courage, delicious food, loyal friends, and second chances. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a literary Nora Ephron or Nancy Meyers joint, but with a dollop of Chocolat. It’s pretty, inspiring, and sentimentally entertaining.
The story centers around a Parisian named Monsieur Perdu. He is an uptight but book-loving man in his early fifties. His greatest love, it seems, is the written word. He owns a book barge on the Seine, and he considers himself a “literary apothecary”. He has a book for every mood, desire, and wound. (That is a pretty cool skillset.) However, while he can easily read others’ souls, he cannot understand his own.
Some sad sack events lead Perdu on a journey across the waterways and countryside of France. The descriptions of the geography and idyllic towns that Perdu visits may have been the highlight of the book for me. When I (briefly) lived in England, I always wanted to take one of the little river houseboats up and down England’s waterways. They looked so cozy. This book gave me a chance to do something similar in France.
While I enjoyed the book, I found one of the central characters very annoying and grating. I couldn’t understand why anyone cared one way or the other about the character. I had to ding the book in its score for that. I found the book’s message of embracing life to be so inspiring that, upon finishing it, I immediately made a lasagna. Is there a greater compliment?