Monday 31 July 2023


Finished July 30
Bookworm by Robin Yeatman

I picked up this book at my local library based on the title and the fact that it is this year's book choice for Markham Reads. Because I hadn't read anything about the book before starting it, I found myself getting drawn into the story of a submissive wife, who has an inner life that is very unexpected. Victoria is a massage therapist who works at a local spa in Montreal and spends most of her free time reading. She doesn't socialize much, just with one friend from high school, Holly. Victoria also likes watching people. She believes that she can "read" them as well, sensing information about their lives that is surprisingly detailed. 
As the book begins, Victoria is seated at her local cafe, reading, when she notices an attractive man reading the same book. She is immediately captivated by him, but he doesn't seem to notice her and leaves soon after. Victoria is unfamiliar with the feelings that he aroused in her and is a bit unsettled, finding her thoughts wandering to him despite what else she does. 
We soon find that Victoria is married to Eric, a lawyer hoping to be offered a partnership. She is Eric's second wife, his first having left him for someone else of a lower class, and we see that he is a controlling figure. Their condo is decorated to his tastes, the food she makes is for his limited palate, and the clothes she wears are mostly his choices. 
As we learn the background of how they came to be married, despite the lack of real interest in each other, we also see how Victoria's inner life is her escape. She often gets ideas from the books she reads, and she often fantasizes about her husband's death. 
She also commonly experiences an out-of-body sensation at night just before she sleeps, where she looks down on herself and her bedroom from above. But this experience soon grows to allow her to float beyond her home and observe others that she senses strongly, in particular the man from the cafe. 
Victoria's thoughts are hers alone, not shared with her ambitious lawyer parents, her critical mother-in-law, or her friend Holly. And they are often dark and plotting. 
But when those thoughts begin to have real shape in her daily world, she finds she might actually get what she wants. 
This book is disturbing and my opinion of Victoria changed radically as the book unfolded. This is a unique and startling tale of desire. 

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