This book was easily one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It’s already been added to my to-buy list and I can see myself enjoying it just as much for many re-reads. Also, it absolutely made my day when Phaedra Patrick liked my review on Goodreads.
Overall Score: 10/10
Book summary (From Goodreads)
In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.
But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.
I saw the book at the library and picked it up on a whim. I was worried that it was going to be just another book about an old man going on a journey after his wife died. Well, it absolutely was a book about that but it was so, so much more. There is laughter, love, friendship, a mystery, and so much more.
I like how Arthur slowly emerges from his shell. The writer gives him time to mourn his wife and doesn’t push him to move on. One of the most beautiful scenes was when he was with Sylvie in Paris and talking about Miriam. The idea of having a routine and being afraid to shake it was so relatable to me (granted mine isn’t quite as regimented but still). Arthur’s journey never seems rushed and yet he comes so far from where he began. You find yourself constantly rooting for him and relishing the moments when he does. As he grows more aware of his surroundings, the reader sees the beauty with him, they go through his journey by his side.
All of the characters that Arthur meets are so alive and vivid. Each one has hidden depths and unexpected histories that create a world that is incredibly detailed and believable. Even Miriam comes alive through Arthur’s memories of her and the stories told to him by others. Each character has experienced a loss and seeing the different ways it affects each of them is wonderful in its real-ness. The author herself says it best: “Now he had uncovered difference and variety. People had their own gilded cages…”
This is a beautifully written novel with a wonderful message. It explores the idea of happiness meaning something different to everyone and all of the different kinds of love. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something sweet, uplifting, and beautifully written.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes because I can’t resist.
“What these people and events had sparked in him was desire. Not in the sense of lust or longing, but a reaction to others. When they had shown a need, he has shown a desire to help.”
Page Length: 331
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, British Literature
Source: Library (but soon to be own!)