Book Reviews of The Bookshop

The Bookshop
The Bookshop
Author: Penelope Fitzgerald
ISBN-13: 9780395869468
ISBN-10: 0395869463
Publication Date: 9/15/1997
Pages: 128
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 60 ratings
Publisher: Mariner Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

15 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Bookshop on + 134 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A widow decides to open a bookshop in a town that doesn't have a book store, and only too late begins to suspect the truth...that a town
choosing to survive.

I loved this book! The language was perfectly chosen, the situations made me smile, and I even had to read some of it aloud to my husband.

Florence Green(the widow) is to be admired for her wit, and her innocent courage, that comes from simply choosing to survive. As Balzac said, the ordinariness of human lives can never be a measure of the effort it takes to keep them going.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 334 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
By the celebrated British author, this book is a tiny gem, one that packs a lot of small-town psychology into a delightful story. There is humor as well as curiosity.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Yes, she does have a knack for creating interesting characters, but I found the ending kind of depressing, and life in Hardborough...also kind of depressing. I think I'm ready for something a little deeper...=0)
reviewed The Bookshop on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a short read and thoroughly enjoyable. Meant to be read slowly to understand the sprinkles of British humor in one line sentences as well as whole paragraphs. This is a story of a widow that buys an old building and starts a book shop with a lending library in a small town in Britain. The area is near a fishing area and its written so well you can smell the fish. The shopowner deals with the banker, the accountant, her employees and her customers in a very dry witty way. The heighth of the story is a customer asking for the classic erotic book Lolita. Once she decides to stock the book business rockets upward. She tries to expand through getting the building registerd as a historic place and has to endure the politics to get it done. A must read for bookshop owners and other people who frequent bookshops.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 371 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a good enough story but the ending was kind of depressing.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A middle-aged widow opens a book shop in a tiny coastal village. Extremely dry British wit.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is an interesting story about the downsides of living in a small village in Great Britain. It is well told, if slightly depressing. A quick read.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wow, this was boring! I don't usually mind a slow pace as long as the story is good or the descriptions are vivid and interesting, but I just didn't get anything out of this one. And I missed the humor too, I guess it was waaayyy too dry for me.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a serious book of modern literature. In only 123 pages, Fitzgerald delivers portraits of unforgettable characters in a difficult situation when an "outsider" retiree opens a bookstore in 1959 in a small English hamlet, Hardborough--foreshadowing intended. What can be accomplished in so few pages is remarkable. And the book rises in my estimation every week since I've finished reading it. It's an eye-opener.
reviewed The Bookshop on
Helpful Score: 1
Wow, this book was difficult to read. The sentences seem to contain too much information at times that I got lost in its meaning. It is written by an English author, so many of the words are unfamiliar to me and I had to stop and look them up. I wish there was a resource to help a reader understand the meaning of a sentence if it is confusing. If there is, I haven't found it.
As I neared the end, I actually started to understand it better and found it interesting. I didn't like the ending, but I feel it is worth reading. If you are looking for something different, this would definitely be in that category.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 13 more book reviews
Fabulous read.
reviewed The Bookshop on
Very short - Written in English but the British way of phrasing took some deciphering, conversations sometimes left me a bit confused - interesting characters - disappointing ending
reviewed The Bookshop on
I needed some help in appreciating this author whose novels are comedies of manners, a British type of humor that often escapes the American reader. You can find an excellent essay on Fitzgerald in Joan Acocella's book Twenty-eight Artists and Two Saints.
reviewed The Bookshop on
A middle-aged widow, Florence Green, opens a bookstore in a remote English village in 1959. We meet a cast of characters in the village including a society matron who wants an arts center and uses money, politics, and influence to eventually get her way. Short read at 123 pages. But not a lot of character development outside of the main character and Christine, an 11 year old girl who works for her in the shop. I liked Florence's no nonsense but kind personality. She was very English proper and with dry wit. But I was disappointed by the sad ending.
reviewed The Bookshop on + 98 more book reviews
A little gem, if you are open to melancholia with a helping of dark wit. I particularly liked the fact that the protagonist, Florence, isn't a heroine for the ages. Her plan to open a bookstore seems a little arbitrary and unfocused, based purely on her memories of a happy interlude when she started work at a London bookstore, as a 16-year-old. She doesn't even seem to be a big reader -- perhaps what the bookstore represents to her is a time before the disappointments in her life -- a husband, dead, before their marriage has been properly begun; no children or other family; no real ambitions --have clouded over whatever spirit she has. When Florence does show some backbone in dealing with the nay-sayers who are trying to crush her modest dream (and believe me, I cheered!), it tends to backfire.

This could be one for fans of the wonderful Mapp and Lucia books, by E. F. Benson -- for an insight into how awful it would be, in reality, to live in a world dominated by Queen Bees and Guardians of Tradition like Mapp and Lucia!