Saturday, August 9, 2014

Book Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

Title: Goodnight June
Author: Sarah Jio
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Library Copy
Content Alert: swearing and maybe a mild sex scene

I feel like Goodnight June is really two books. One of them is a fascinating, four-star read-- a series of fictional letters between Margaret Wise Brown (the author of Goodnight Moon and a lot of other children's books) and Ruby. Margaret and Ruby met in college, and when they correspond, they are single women in their early thirties, dealing with the challenges of careers and life. The other book is the one- or two-star story of June Anderson, a stock character-- a stressed out NYC banker who trades in her high-powered career to take over the bookstore when Aunt Ruby dies. This action, complete with the requisite love story, has her working to save the bookstore from the very bankers with whom she used to work. The 2005 part of the story is predictable and there are quite a few anachronisms (the characters have iPads, for example). There's a side story with her sister that comes out of left field and brings out dramatic action that feels rushed. And June had to be blind not to see the resolution to the main mystery of the story-- what happened to Aunt Ruby's baby. Altogether, it makes for a book that is enjoyable, but that could have been so much better if the action in the present was as interesting and rich as the letters she sought out in the bookstore.

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