As an avid reader, it’s probably no surprise that I mainly picked this book due to the title and the front cover – I know, I know, judging a book by it’s cover and all that. But a book which is probably going to be mainly about books, how could I resist?
Having finished the book, I have mixed feelings. Once I sat down to properly read it, I finished most of it in one sitting. I found the setting and the characters enticing and I was truly wrapped up in their lives.
Sylvia is newly graduated from library school when she finds herself in a children’s library in a small village. You can tell that she has passion for books and for trying to get children interested in reading (something that seems to have fallen out of fashion nowadays). Through the book, we meet a whole host of young characters on whom Sylvia has a great influence.
You could really tell that the author was sharing parts of her childhood in this story, you could feel her passion for the library and the children’s section in particular really shining from the pages.
But certain things really bugged me. Like Sylvia’s relationship with Hugh Bell. I’m personally not sure whether I even liked it in the book at all, but since it was there, I’d have preferred it to be more fleshed out. It felt like a little bit of a cop-out on the romance side.
The thing that bugged me the most though (like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) was the extra chapter at the end where all the children are grown up. It felt like it was added in as a way to just tie up all the loose ends of the story and let you know what happened to all the children, but personally I would have preferred it with a bit of mystery – I liked being unsure about a few things and dreaming for myself what became of the children. It just felt a bit too ‘easy’, and since the main of the story was about how imperfect life can be, the ending was just too perfect for me.
Even with the annoyances I felt though, I’ll still give 3 stars out of 5. I think my annoyances were personal rather than general, but I was still lost in the story and lost in the characters and the time and the books. And I loved this quote which I think sums up the book for me:
Only fools disregard children’s literature. Clarity of vision is shed with childhood but one can sometimes recover a glimpse of it in the best children’s literature.Salley Vickers