Sometimes, I read a book so quickly, I don't even get around to putting it on my sidebar here. Or adding it to Goodreads. (And sometimes I take so long reading a book that you probably get sick of seeing it in my sidebar. I know I do.) Well, The Story People was one of those books I simply inhaled. And then it took me a few days to find time to write a review because... this is a busy time of year, did you notice?
Anyway, so in The Story People, there's this writer/illustrator named Rosemary and this bookstore owner named Ben, and they don't realize it when they meet up as adults, but they actually knew each other as kids. Together, the kids had made up this wonderful fantasy about Story People who eat the stories that are inside books. The story of them as kids is interwoven into this story of them as adults, which was just a beautiful writing device -- I loved it. In fact, I loved this book as a whole.
Which is a little surprising, to me, because it contains some storytelling elements that usually drive me up a wall. Ordinarily, I will actively dislike, even quit reading, a book that involves misunderstandings and near-misses, especially if they are what's keeping a potential couple apart. Drives me nuts. Partly because they frustrate me, but also because they usually feel like blatant plot devices, just obstacles stuck there by the writer to make the story take longer. And I think that's why I loved this book despite the fact that if the two characters had just talked to each other, they would have been together in like 3 seconds -- the misunderstandings did not feel like plot devices. They felt like natural occurrences that were regrettable, but organic. Did I get frustrated by them? Yes, sometimes -- there are these three ladies who keep meddling in things and messing them up, but out of the goodness of their hearts, not out of malice. And there's another character who downright lies and almost ruins everything by doing so. But overall, the story was just so cozy and enjoyable, and I loved the two main characters (and several minor characters) so very much that I loved the book anyway.
There's also a sweet secondary romance going on between two retirees that warmed my heart :-)
Also, I have a great fondness for stories about people who love books. And stories about writers.
I actually received this as a gift via the Advent Book Exchange hosted by Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife. I liked it so well that, even though I wasn't finished reading my own copy, I gave a copy to a friend as a Christmas present.
Particularly Good Bits:
It was easier to cope with loss, he supposed, if you didn't focus too much on what exactly had been lost. Because when you lose someone, you don't just lose that person. You lose all the possibilities that came with that person. Better to focus on the possible, on the next step, than to dwell on the vastness of what had been lost (p. 119).
"I think reading lets us know that we're not alone, that our experiences have been others' experiences. Sometimes we think our situation is so unique, but reading puts us back into context. We don't have to feel isolated or alone after all. Stories connect us as humans" (p. 278).
There was a certain satisfaction with feeling wronged or misunderstood. Such feelings obliterated obligation and responsibility. Such feelings put the onus on the other for fixing the problem, while blanketing one's own participation in a cover of hurt (p. 324).
...a book is just a book until it is opened and loved (p. 361).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG. No curse words, no innuendo more than a few sweet kisses at the end, and no violence.