I’m the kind of reader that needs a quirky main character to get on board with. I need someone who says inappropriate things and doesn’t understand why they have offended; I need a character who loves to just read the final chapter of a book; I need a hero who only eats yellow food.
The more unusual the quirks of a character, the more likely I am to fall in love with him or her. One of my all time favourites is Eleanor Oliphant and any book that likens itself to that masterpiece is going to draw me in.
The Reader on the 6.27 was compared to Amelie and that film warmed my heart until it was almost on fire. So I was very excited to dive in and see what Jean-Paul Didierlaurent could offer up.
The main character, Guylain, works in a recycling plant that basically just pulps books that have not sold so that there is space on the shelves for new books. But Guylain takes any pages that have escaped the pulping machine and reads the short extracts to the people on the train he takes to work each day.
There are a host of other characters that are so outlandish, I felt that they were almost Dickensian. I couldn’t help but smile at the little love story that ran throughout, with a toilet attendant, no less. And Guylain’s friend with no legs kind of reminded me of Leiutenant Dan in Forrest Gump.
I gave this book a big fat five stars because I just fell in love with every character we were introduced to. The book fell somewhere between a romance and a fable/ fairytale. It was beautifully written and left me contemplating what the message behind it was – and there were so many lessons to be learned.
At the centre of it all was love and friendship and what that means to us as humans. It shows that it’s messy and complicated but can also be boiled down to something really simple and delicious.
2 thoughts on “book review: the reader on the 6.27”
Oh, it does sound fascinating, Rachel! And the characters sound just as interesting as the story. Speaking of noncomformist characters, have you ever read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time? If not, I highly recommend it. The main character, Christopher Boone, is on the autism spectrum. He’s high-functioning, so he can communicate. But he’s anything but conventional. I encourage you to ‘meet’ him if you haven’t.
Yes, I have read that one. There is a theatre production of it here in London and I’d be so interested to go and see how they have transferred the story to stage.