5 Things I Liked about “Giver of Stars”
1. You’re in such good hands with JoJo Moyes. She’s a pro, and you feel it on every page—there are no moments of noticing the narrative or questioning a character. You’re just in it.
2. She created a less obvious protagonist. This is the story of rural traveling librarians in 1930’s Kentucky, and there were plenty of “outsiders” there—but by adding in a real outsider, a young woman from England who really can’t go back, she’s able to look at the community from a greater distance.
3. I like the modern sensibility. There’s a trend towards giving characters in historical fiction an outlook on things like race and gender that’s more in keeping with our times, and while it may not be accurate—or at least, it might have been rare—it can make a book more relatable, and that’s very much the case here.
4. She sticks the landing. All the good things you crave for the characters kind of happen in unpredictable ways and it’s deeply satisfying.
5. It’s a good read for this awful moment—because you won’t be constantly thinking, oh, that’s great for you, at least you can GO to a bar. Good historical fiction offers a different kind of escape.
I know there was controversy around this one—it’s said to be similar to Kim Michele Richardson’s The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and I have to acknowledge that I don’t know much about that. Many people loved that book as well. (And if you like one, why not read both?) What I do know is that this is a fun, fast read that’s smart enough to distract and entertain but not as demanding as, say, Proust. That’s what we want from JoJo Moyes, and she delivers.