I found The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to be beautiful and charming. I fell in love with timid, introverted and bookish Sara. For someone who spent so much of her life buried in fiction and hiding from reality, it must have taken a great deal of courage to leave Sweden for Broken Wheel, Iowa- even if she had known her pen pal through letters and books for two years. But after the book store she worked at closed up, she had saved enough money for one grand adventure.
By the time she reaches the neighboring town of Hope with her luggage and a book in hand, it is pretty obvious that her dear friend Amy isn’t there to greet her. Getting a ride into town, she isn’t ready for what she finds. Amy- her Amy- had been bedridden for some time and finally passed. Lost in a sea of strange town folk that, while she had never met, she knew intimately through letters; Sara doesn’t know how to go on. Luckily the people of Broken Wheel do. It’s obvious- Amy has a house, just sitting empty, she obviously wanted Sara there. So, Sara would just have her vacation. As she moves along the town, meeting all the characters from Amy’s letters, Sara becomes more and more enamored (and indebted) to them as a whole. Then, of course there is Tom, Amy’s too-handsome nephew that Sara can’t seem to stop thinking about. Still, if she is going to spend two months at Amy’s with no Amy, she must make her way somehow. Not actually earning money for herself, that would be illegal with her vacation visa. What the town needs, she decides, is a book store. Amy just happens to have had a storefront on main left empty for years, and enough books to fill a store. (I know, it just seemed to happen so easily…).
While the plot was a bit… less than inspired… I felt that every other aspect was brilliant. These characters- Sara, Tom, Poor George, Caroline…. All of them are sweet and charming, complex and stunningly heart wrenching. I loved their interactions, and being able to see all of them in the beginning of the story through both Amy’s letters and Sara’s eyes. The descriptions were charming, thought provoking and at times hilarious. I adored the references to other books (that always makes me happy), and I love that in every way this book celebrated books for the sake of books and life for the sake of living. I must have highlighted a dozen quotes or descriptions that I just loved. As an added kindness the author laid out every referenced book and author at the end of the book, as well as book discussion questions that I must admit I ended up reading and going over for myself (the cat wasn’t interested).
But enough gushing! The book is out- raid your library or bookshop now!
As far as the Adult Content scale goes I give it a four. While there are some heavy matters, and a bit of racy content it was all done with a good amount of class.
Link to Book: