Rating: 4 stars
This story explores themes of loss, community, and family through characters that are both unique and likable. When Elliot, co-owner of an independent bookstore in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood of Minneapolis unexpectedly passes away, his business partner and best friend Irma, and life partner Thom, both have the rug pulled out from under them. An unfortunate situation is made worse when Irma decides to sell the bookstore to an investment firm for far less than it’s worth. Her daughters Bree and Laney are shocked to learn of their mother’s plan to sell off the beloved bookstore where they spent their childhoods, and seek to understand her reasoning, despite their mother’s reluctance to share details. Thom, Bree, and Laney become unlikely allies, united in their efforts to stop the sale of the bookstore, albeit for differing motivations.
As a Minnesota native, I loved the references to landmarks, culture, and the Minneapolis community which provided a vivid setting for the story. The importance of communities on multiple different levels is highlighted as public interest in the situation grows. While we learn more about the history of the bookstore and the secrets that Irma is trying to keep buried, friendships, romance, and humor provide a depth to this story that kept me interested and looking forward to seeing how it was all going to turn out. Familial relationships are explored, including mother and daughter dynamics, the bond between sisters, and how deep connections with our chosen family can grow as well. Interjected throughout the story are real book recommendations based on Elliot’s unique talent: recommending books that can spark interest in even the least likely readers.
The Book Haters’ Book Club is full of quirky characters, dynamic relationships, and lighthearted humor that brings to life a story of community, overcoming grief, and the importance of family and friendship.
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