January 16, 2012 by Alice in Readerland
“Dutch almost-eighteen-year-old Anna is not allowed to go on a Spanish beach vacation with her friends. Instead her parents send her to small town America to spend the summer with her uncle. To pass the time, Anna starts working in an antique shop where she befriends different kinds of people ranging from the local undertaker–a boy her age–to an elderly Jewish couple. Anna could never have imagined that what she thought would be the dullest holiday ever would turn out to be a time where she discovers what life is about.” ~ Goodreads description
Title: It’s a Wonderful Life
Author: Jesse Goossens
Imprint: Myrick Marketing & Media
Paperback: 188 pages
Book Courtesy of NetGalley
“It’s a Wonderful Life” by Jesse Goossens is a wonderful book!
Anna is a cinephile who can never resist quoting from her favorite movies and I smiled throughout the book as I recognized some of the quotes. Since Anna lives in the Netherlands, it was interesting to hear some of her thoughts and see her excitement as she came to America for vacation. Anna’s also holding a secret; while I guessed what her secret was way before it came out, I was as surprised as Anna was when she finally discovers more about her secret near the end of the book.
One of my favorite things about this book has to be the antique shop where Anna works, where she gets to choose ‘vintage’ dresses to wear while at the shop, from a black lace dress with a bright red underskirt to a fifties dress with green lace and a gold-colored underskirt. The antique shop is also where Anna uses her creative abilities by inventing stories that suggest the antiques may have been used in films.
Something that surprised me about this book was how it managed to incorporate so many different subjects; besides learning to live in America, Anna encounters subjects such as learning to drive, Irish traditions, Jewish traditions, church, grave digging, and tombstone engraving.
Cynical Cindy Says:
Are you squeamish about the dead, embalmment, funeral rituals, or what some people want for their dead loved ones? If so, then you might want to skip over sections of this book. Or skip this book entirely.
While the stories that the townspeople tell are well written, they can go on kind of long, making you think of the ‘show, don’t tell’ motto. But then, maybe showing the reader isn’t such a good idea as some of the book’s flashback scenes can be kind of jumpy. Other parts of the book are jumpy too, but some of that can probably be chalked up to the language translation.
3 out of 5 teacups.