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‘The Last Library’ book review: A cute little book

‘The Last Library’ book review: A cute little book

How could I not buy a book about books? I saw the title ‘The Last Library’ on the spine of the book during a recent trip to Ekta Books in Thapathali, Kathmandu, and bought it on a whim. I didn’t even read the blurb. I was reading something else at the moment but I still couldn’t resist it. I started reading it, sitting at Ekta’s newly opened quaint little café at the bookstore premises. It didn’t immediately grab my attention and, as far as my experience with books goes, that’s never a good thing.

 It’s a cute little book. That’s all there is to it. I didn’t love it. But it was enjoyable. I felt like I had read similar books in the past. The plot wasn’t anything new. In fact, it felt a little too cliché. But I also wanted to finish it despite having a strong inkling about how it would end. The characters are interesting, but then again, you’ve met them before, in books with similar plots. Sampson hasn’t been able to develop the characters. You meet them but you never really get to know them. And you end up not caring much about them either.

This standalone novel focuses on a library assistant and her determination to fight for her beloved local library which is threatened to be shut down. Thirty-year-old June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. She spends all her time at the library where her mum once worked. She’s the assistant librarian there. When the library is threatened with closure, June has to get out of her comfort zone to save the place that holds so many memories. At the risk of losing her job, she joins hands with a group of eccentric yet loyal locals who start a campaign to keep the library open. In doing so, June builds some relationships that might save her and give her story a new beginning.

The Last Library (The Last Chance Library in the US version), I believe, is perfect for non-readers or those who want to get started with reading. It’s light. You don’t have to invest too much mental or emotional energy and the chapters are short. I felt the book was also a commentary on the importance of libraries as public spaces. In the book, it’s where a lonely old man hangs out, where a teenager escapes her chaotic household to study in peace, and an immigrant builds new connections. I wouldn’t recommend or not recommend this book but if you are a voracious reader, you can give it a miss.



The Last Library

Freya Sampson

Published: 2021

Publisher: Zaffre

Pages: 364, Paperback