Originally published in France under the title La Fille qui lisait dans le Metro, my cousin had recommended this book and the author Christine Féret-Fleury repeatedly. While my French is super-rusty, I’d not looked into her work until this book offer came up for review.
The Girl Who Reads on the Métro
I DEVOURED this book – under two hours and devastated when it ended, the story captured me and held me in thrall – Juliette is cautious, nervous and a bookworm, with a life structured around “safety’ and the sameness of routine. If you are a person who reads enough to start a blog, or always finds 2 or 3 different books at your fingertips in your everyday ‘carry bag’, you can completely relate to Juliette’s feelings about her books, and the fact that everywhere she goes she notices books, gathers them, or notices when others are reading them.
For example – the people on the metro on her commute: the man in the green hat with his book on insects, the woman with the Italian cookbook, or the romance enthusiast who seems to cry at every book’s page 247. It was while thinking about books, and wandering a quiet street not on her usual route (a major anomaly) she spots a book propping open a door. When she is mortally offended at the mistreatment, she picks the book up to ‘smell’ it and finds that unique book smell tempered with a bit of mint. And a young girl with flashing dark eyes, thick braids and an aura that is far advanced for her tender years. Inviting her inside, the little girl Zaide is convinced that Juliette is to be a Passeur – the special people entrusted by her father Soliman to ‘deliver’ books to the people who most need them.
Oh the travels and growth here – from Juliette’s discovering a book (and Zaide) who encourage her to take chances, to actually discovering something away from her normal routine, dealing with the grief and fears she’d held since childhood, and turning from her work at the estate agency to take over the ‘books’ from Soliman to actually voicing and finding a sense of purpose in her own belief about books, reading and the people who may need them. If you like books and are willing to take the time to let Juliette toddle forward on her journey and growth – this is a story that will find some sort of niche in your heart. From fantastical to utterly realistic both Paris and the books come alive through Juliette’s eyes and narration, and allow readers to simply gush over the written word.
Title: The Girl Who Reads on the Métro
Author: Christine Féret-Fleury
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Setting: France
Published by: Flatiron Books
Published on: 8 October, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 5 Hours (estimated)
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Direct from Publisher
In the vein of Amelie and The Little Paris Bookshop, a modern fairytale about a French woman whose life is turned upside down when she meets a reclusive bookseller and his young daughter.
Juliette leads a perfectly ordinary life in Paris, working a slow office job, dating a string of not-quite-right men, and fighting off melancholy. The only bright spots in her day are her metro rides across the city and the stories she dreams up about the strangers reading books across from her: the old lady, the math student, the amateur ornithologist, the woman in love, the girl who always tears up at page 247.
One morning, avoiding the office for as long as she can, Juliette finds herself on a new block, in front of a rusty gate wedged open with a book. Unable to resist, Juliette walks through, into the bizarre and enchanting lives of Soliman and his young daughter, Zaide. Before she realizes entirely what is happening, Juliette agrees to become a passeur, Soliman's name for the booksellers he hires to take stacks of used books out of his store and into the world, using their imagination and intuition to match books with readers. Suddenly, Juliette's daydreaming becomes her reality, and when Soliman asks her to move in to their store to take care of Zaide while he goes away, she has to decide if she is ready to throw herself headfirst into this new life.
Big-hearted, funny, and gloriously zany, The Girl Who Reads on the Metro is a delayed coming-of-age story about a young woman who dares to change her life, and a celebration of the power of books to unite us all.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.