To be read with: Rock Creek Dry Cider With Pear, because like the drink, the book is a little too light and a little too sweet.
On a superficial level, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katharina Bivald was an enjoyable book. It’s a cute love story littered with pop-culture literary references. This was pleasant enough because Idgie Threadgoode is not mentioned nearly enough in terms of literature’s bad ass feminists.
The story revolves around the idea that books can change lives and save towns that are on the brink of destitution, and this is where I feel the novel fell short. The events of the book show some characters learning to understand themselves or solve their problems through reading, however other characters inexplicably do a 180° change of personality with no apparent motivation. The character that was set up to be a foil and possible antagonist for the main character suddenly becomes friendly and encouraging after someone does her dishes? A town that exercises a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for its sole same sex couple is openly accepting and supportive after the main character adds a Gay Erotica shelf to the town bookshop? The overwhelming support and inclusiveness of the small town felt a little Splenda to me; sweet, but artificial.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the book as light fare that I didn’t have to think too hard about. I would read another book by Katharina Bivald, as this is her debut, but I would do so hoping that she delves a little deeper next time.