The Moment of Everything by Shelly King
Maggie got a master’s in English and moved to California with her best friend to strike it big in whatever the next big thing happened to be. That’s not the way it turned out though. Maggie had nice jobs for a while, but businesses got bought out, which left Maggie jobless. These days she spends a lot of her time in a bookstore called The Dragonfly reading trashy romance novels.
Her best friend, a software developer, still has his job. He invites Maggie to a book club meeting with one of the higher-up at his company. He tells Maggie that as long as she performs well at book club, she may be able to get her job back. The book is Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Maggie has a shiny new copy for book club, but she also gets a copy from her local bookstore, a used, much read copy of the book.
Inside the book, Maggie does not find just D.H.’s words, but also the words of two apparent would-be lovers, Henry and Catherine. Their words are captivating. Instead of reading the actual book, Maggie spends time reading a budding romance between strangers in a bookstore.
Book club starts out with all the posh lady members bashing D.H.’s words. They didn’t like the book, but Maggie realizes that the book club host wants people to like the book. Remembering some of the words from Henry and Catherine’s back and forth, Maggie saves the meeting. Upon speaking with the book club host, a high-powered woman in a programming company, Maggie makes the bold claim that she is volunteering at her local bookstore in order to make it profitable, as a project. The book club host is interested and wants Maggie to keep in touch.
Maggie soon pitches her ideas to Hugo, the bookstore owner, and Jason, the sole bookstore employee. Hugo offers to give Maggie a job, which she eventually accepts. It’s nowhere near as much money as she once made, but it helps her pay her rent, to Hugo, whom she also rents her apartment from. She begins by setting up a website and Facebook page for the store, complete with the scanned love notes from Henry and Catherine. This attracts attention from people who start coming to the bookstore, including a man who is interested in Maggie. He’s read Henry and Catherine’s notes as well.
Things seem to start looking up for Maggie. She has a boyfriend and she can pay her basic bills, but the truth ultimately comes out about who Henry and Catherine really were, which also involves a little tragedy. It’s now that Maggie must decide who she is and what she’s going to do with her life.
What I liked
I like books and I like bookstores, and so, I love the idea of having a bookstore, despite the fact that it’s just not entirely feasible these days. Maggie does seem to come into her own, in an area that appeals to her inner-most desires.
The story turned out to be more complex than I had originally thought. There’s romance; there’s conflict; there’s change–all of this makes for a great book.
What I didn’t like
This is more or less a knit-picky thing, but, I don’t know that Shelly knows what she’s talking about in respect to code. Look here– I write code. It’s practically impossible to know a big amount of code, of somebody else’s, backwards and forwards like Maggie claims to be able to do in this book, especially if you don’t have a coding background, such as a person like Maggie. A coding language is basically like learning a foreign language. If you had no background of Japanese, you couldn’t just start reading Japanese and understand what it said, especially if you only have experience with Roman letters.
Let’s all get a bookstore and a bookstore cat.
If you got offered an incredibly well-paid job, but it wasn’t your passion, would you take it?
Would you ever own a bookstore?