Book Review | The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend By Katarina Bivald

broken wheel

Title: The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend

Author: Katarina Bivald

Publisher: Vintage

Published: September 1st 2016

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

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Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it’s time. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind.

But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it’s almost beyond repair are all the people she’s come to know through Amy’s letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy’s guarded nephew Tom.

Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.


“HOW TRAGIC IT WAS THAT THE WRITTEN WORD WAS IMMORTAL WHILE PEOPLE WERE NOT.”

The Readers Of Broken Wheel Recommend is a book about books. It’s the first translated book I’ve ever read and I loved it so much that I wish I could understand Swedish just so I can read the original. Apart from the ending, which was cliché and predictable, and the lack of plot, it was honestly such a fun and pleasant read!

“SHE HAD NEVER BEEN SOMEONE WHO BELIEVED YOU NEEDED TO HAVE MET IN PERSON TO BE FRIENDS.”

The story centres on Sara, who travels from Sweden to the small town of Broken Wheel in Iowa to meet her bookish pen pal. That is, until she turns up in the middle of Amy’s funeral. It’s so tragic and dramatic, I honestly don’t know how I would react if that ever happened to me. Amy’s legacy lives on in the letters she exchanges with Sara, which are dispersed throughout the novel, and the bookshop Sara opens in honour of her friend and her books. Even though Sara is in her late-twenties, the whole premise was just so relatable. There are plenty of book references and the chapter titles are often a play on words; to read or not to read, that is the question.

The community of Broken Wheel is both diverse and downright hilarious. Being from a big city, I always think about how nice it is to live in a small town where everybody knows everybody. I adored the characters and their dynamics and the extent they fought to keep Sara from leaving the town when her visa expired.

“CIGARETTE PACKETS COME WITH WARNINGS, SO WHY NOT TRAGIC BOOKS?”

Overall, this reader of Broken Wheel recommends this book. It’s fun and light-hearted and wholly relatable. If you’re willing to overlook the slow plot for great characters (and books!) then this is one for you.

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