Sunday, April 22, 2012
Book Report: The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi
John Dodge (Dodge to all who know him) has made a career of roaming the United States and rehabilitating failing businesses. Truck stops, small shops, museums, and movie theaters claim his life for anywhere from six months to three years before he's off chasing the next big adventure. Small rooms make him break out into a sweat, a condition he discusses with only his therapist sister. But Dodge is no stranger to hashing out neuroses. Before being bewitched by wanderlust, he too was a therapist. It is his professional experience, in part, that makes it so easy for him to spot Julia Darrow's agoraphobic tendencies upon his arrival in sleepy Lamb's Corner.
Widowed and in her early thirties, Julia owns a fine linens shop crowned by the telling moniker Cocoon. She wears pajamas to work and everywhere else, collects rescue dogs, suffers from insomnia, and lives in a tiny apartment tucked above her shop. She also never leaves Lamb's Corner, save for random Sunday mystery trips to parts unknown. Despite an umade-up, unclassically beautiful face and a body in need of "fattening up" if the town matriarchs are to be believed, Julia is the unconventional yet indisputable fancy of every man in Lamb's Corner. But it isn't until Dodge arrives to revive a stationery store that her head is turned, forcing her to come to terms with the traumatic events that led up to her close quarters living.
Charming and character-driven, The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square has the homespun appeal of bygone TV shows like "Ed" and "Men in Trees." Which is to say that it's unflashily sweet and rife with comfortingly familiar eccentrics. It doesn't offer pat solutions, a rarity in a market flooded by formula fiction. Instead it reminds us that life and relationships and even getting out of bed in the morning are sometimes darned unpleasant, but that a little (okay, a lot of) grit can help turn them around. Indeed, a novel made for pjs and rainy days if ever there was one :)