Book Review: The Giver of Stars

A sketch noted book review – The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes

A good portion of my bookshelf comes from my Mum. She’s a pro at scouting for books at charity shops (usually with interesting covers), and most of them end up on my shelf. So far, this book is my favourite – The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes.

I loved Moyes’s Me Before You series and The Girl You Left Behind, but this book seems to stand out for me. Perhaps it’s the friendship between the women, or the concept of the Packhorse Library. To be honest, I’m a sucker for anything with books on the cover.

The WPA’s Packhorse Library

It’s real! The WPA’s Packhorse Library ran from 1935 to 1943 in rural parts of the United States. At it’s height, this initiative brought books to over 100,000 rural residents who wouldn’t have had access to them otherwise. You can find out more about the amazing work of the packhorse librarians here in Smithsonian magazine.

The power of books

For me, the core message that stood out was the power of books, stories, and words (for good or evil) to affect relationships and outcomes. Librarians do meaningful work, and this is highlighted as Alice Wright (on Spirit), and Margery O’Hare (on Charley), ride across American wilderness to deliver carefully chosen books. Despite severe hardship, they continue their important work and discover true friendship and love.

Snippets from books appear throughout, usually to give historical context or reflection on the story. A quote from Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Women appears on page 50 at the start of chapter 3:

“… and the best of all, the wilderness of books, in which she could wander where she liked, made the library a region of bliss to her.”

A bestseller

It’s no surprise that The Giver of Stars is a bestselling book and was selected for Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club.

“For years I’ve been a huge fan of Jojo Moyes. It’s such a great narrative about personal strength and really captures how books bring communities together, especially for these women who are completely bonded by their love of literature.” (Reese Witherspoon)

I think Witherspoon’s testimonials sums up this book beautifully. See my sketch noted book review for The Giver of Stars above.

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