Confessions of a Curious Bookseller
I’ve always believed that as a writer, I need to keep tabs on what other authors are writing – and, more specifically, what publishers are publishing. This book, being a debut novel, is a case in point. Based on pre-pub blurbs, I knew that CONFESSIONS OF A CURIOUS BOOKSELLER consisted entirely of emails, texts, online reviews, tweets, and journal entries. So, I was forewarned.
Still, I found this book trying. For starters – yes, starters because it was a major problem – I listened to the audiobook. This meant that whenever there was a new digital entry, I had to listen to a repeat of all the “to … from … time … subject” data, even the content of the auto-signature over and over again.
This made for a very slow listen.
And that might have been fine, if I’d cared for Fawn Birchill, the protagonist and author of the bulk of those emails, texts, journal entries, and so on. But I found her snarky, dishonest, and insensitive to her family, not the least being her dying father. Reviewers have called her loveable in a curmudgeonly way, even eccentric. I struggled with her. In the absence of an inner narrative that might have shown emotional awareness, she was simply unpleasant. And a bad businesswoman? Well, I suppose some of her entrepreneurial acts were amusing, if you like laughing at people.
Likewise, if you like one-liners. There is definitely cleverness here. Was the book “uproariously funny”? I didn’t find it so.
That said, the ending was wonderful, everything I’d hoped this book would be. Sadly, for me at least, it was too much too late. As it stood, Fawn Burchill came across as the kind of person who could not get along with other people, so, therefore, hid behind technology. And maybe that was the message of the book?
CONFESSIONS OF A CURIOUS BOOKSELLER has been called a “whimsical tale,” a “rare treat,” “charming, witty, and daring.” And it may be those things for another reader. I’ve given it three stars, because I think that, style-wise, it may have been well done.
Content-wise, it just didn’t work for me. That said, I’m glad I read it, if for no other reason than to see how it was done. Keeping tabs. Definitely.