on 30 July 2009
John McCann has been told by his doctor that he needs to have a 'sea change' in his life. So John decides to take a year out from the rat race to manage a bookstore - Margins. Whilst there, he meets David - a homeless man - who comes in to the store to read the second hand books. John's initial prejudices are eroded away as he comes to know David and he has to question exactly what he wants out of his life and who he wants to share it with.
I found this a little difficult to get into. I didn't settle into the story straight away. However, the story slowly drew me into the world of the bookstore and the characters who frequent it.
At the start of the story, John is almost an everyman character, he represents the majority of people and their attitudes to the homeless. However, in coming in to contact with David, John has to deal with things he might otherwise not have had to and also he has to confront a lot of things about himself that he might not have wished to acknowledge.
David is understandably not as easy a character to get to know. We learn about him as John does, and at the end of the story John knows there is still much that he doesn't know about the man he's fallen in love with, but he knows he's got the time to find it all out.
I like that the author took her time in developing the relationship between John and David and didn't rush it. She makes it clear that it's two steps forward and one step back. John and the reader learn that it's not just going to be a case of giving David food and a warm place to stay, the baggage he comes with is more complex than that.
If I had a problem at all it was the point of view shifts. I personally prefer to stick with one character for a large chunk of time. Whereas Isabelle Rowan seems to favour a constantly shifting point of view which is sometimes dizzying.
There's a sense at the end that John and David still have a long way to go, but you also feel that they'll get there. This is only the end of the beginning.