The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Poor Arthur Pepper, I mean seriously! This guy goes on a life altering adventure only after his wife is dead and, well, let’s be quite frank here, when death is close to knocking on his door too. This book is a sad representation of how not to live your life to the fullest. I found it extremely dull and had it not been part of my book club, I would’ve never even glanced at it in a book store.

So, Arthur is struggling with the death of his wife, now having to live life alone, he discovers his wife’s charm bracelet. He realises it’s part of his wife’s life that he never knew about. He sets out to discover where the charms came from and more about his wife’s past.

Let’s just rewind here for a minute, it takes Arthur losing his wife to finally realise he never knew her. Now I’m a sucker for romance, but let that really sink in, that a man waits until his wife is six feet under to discover who she was and what a fantastic, adventurous life she lived. This, people of the ethernet, is why you should never judge a book by its cover, or you know, never marry anyone by the name of Arthur who doesn’t ask about your past in the first date. Even the author points out Arthur’s ultimate downfall:

“He regretted it now. They should have visited new places together, had new experiences when the kids got older. They should have grasped the opportunity to do what they wanted to do and expand their horizons…”

There were a couple of aspects of this book that really rubbed me the wrong way — first and foremost, the pesky neighbour who is all up in Arthur’s business. I mean, woman, go get yourself a hobby or maybe take interest in your own son’s ambitions? And even Arthur’s daughter who thinks she won’t be satisfied with her life until she gets married and has children?  Can we please remember it is 2018, and women do not need to be married or have children to be satisfied? But if that’s seriously what makes you think you’ll be satisfied, maybe you should be in another decade.

Maybe this review is coming off too harsh, a little bitter towards a cute little old man who is having a coming to Jesus moment before he knocks the bucket? Well, let’s just say, one positive thing about this book is its short and could totally be described as a summer beach book. It was an easy read and had some witty parts to it that could even make a bitter, cough, reader smile. But, overall, there’s nothing really “charming” about this book.


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