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Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

// Book Review //

Thank you to Flatiron Books for this beautiful, complimentary review copy!

For the photo, I tied this book in a bow but not the big, fluffy, glittery bows I prefer. I am hoping (much like the characters in the story) that my writing of this review will help me better understand why I have such mixed feelings about this book. 

I’ll begin my review with what I enjoyed about Anne Youngson’s epistolary novel, Meet Me at the Museum.  First, I thought Anne’s writing was thought-provoking, reflective and authentic. I love her analogy of raspberry picking. She writes, “Whenever I pick raspberries, I go as carefully as possible down the row, looking for every ripe fruit. But however careful I am, when I turn round to go back the other way, I find fruit I had not seen approaching the plants from the opposite direction. Another life, I thought, might be like a second pass down the row of raspberry canes; there would be good things I had not come across in my first life, but I suspect I would find much of the fruit was already in my basket.” Our path in life is the result of the choices we have made. By choosing one direction we are in essence not selecting another. Our reflection (and that handy post- 20/20 vision), can be both celebratory and somber. This little book makes a big statement to live life with no regrets. The author also  includes themes of self-reflection, loss, grief, second chances, remembrance, role fulfillment, self-discovery, friendship, being present in the moment and finding joy in the small things.

So what is there not to love? The premise could be charming from a simplified description… Two strangers meet via letter writing and form a bond of friendship (which ultimately could lead to love)… however, the subject that brings them together is a dead, preserved ancient criminal with a noose around his neck? Every time the Tollund Man was mentioned (and physically described) I kept thinking that it felt like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom meets Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail? It just didn’t work for me.

All-in-all, I will read Anne Youngson’s next novel. Her writing is lovely and her themes are heart-felt.

How about you? Have you read Meet Me at the Museum? What are your thoughts on this book?

Trigger Warning:

If you are uncomfortable reading books that contain adultery, you may want to avoid reading this book.

Favorite Quotes:

“Whenever I pick raspberries, I go as carefully as possible down the row, looking for every ripe fruit. But however careful I am, when I turn round to go back the other way, I find fruit I had not seen approaching the plants from the opposite direction. Another life, I thought, might be like a second pass down the row of raspberry canes; there would be good things I had not come across in my first life, but I suspect I would find much of the fruit was already in my basket.” 

 “Our letters have meant so much to us because we have both arrived at the same point in our lives. More behind us than ahead of us. Paths chosen that define us. Enough time left to change.”

“I am writing to you to see if you can help me make sense of some of the thoughts that occur to me. Or maybe I am hoping that just writing will make sense of them.” 

“You have a gift for finding joy in small moments, which is a thing I used to have, but have lost…” 

Book Details:

Title: Meet Me at the Museum

Author: Anne Youngson

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 9781250295163

 

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