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In The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai, we meet Jeremy, a twelve-year-old boy living in Paris. Though he has a heart condition that keeps him in and out of the hospital, he lives a comfortable life and finds joy in spending time with his mom and his trusty German shepherd, Leon. Jeremy’s everyday life is changed, however, when he discovers an old, possibly valuable painting in a vault below his family’s apartment. So begins Jeremy’s journey of mystery, family secrets, and self-discovery as he sets out to uncover the history of this work of art.
As I started reading this book, I was a bit apprehensive. Contemporary fiction usually isn’t my favourite genre, as I prefer the fantastical elements of sci-fi or fantasy. The book also started out a little slow, but as soon as Jeremy discovered the painting, the story picked up and captured my interest. Jeremy’s adventures are captivating, as are the various people he meets. The author paints Paris in a lovely light, using beautiful descriptions that fuel the imagination. There is quite a diverse and interesting cast of characters. Moreover, the way the story unfolds keeps you guessing at every turn.
However, improving the technical aspects of this story could have really made the book shine. It could have benefited from another editing pass, as there was quite a bit of awkward phrasing and some typos. The dialogue was sometimes stilted and often too scarce; many situations were glossed over with narrative when they could have been detailed beautifully with dialogue.
Though I liked Jeremy, in the end, he came off as a confusing main character with an unclear journey. For starters, though he’s supposed to be twelve, he’s oddly insightful and intuitive, thinking more like an adult than a child. To add to the confusion, his thought processes are written as repetitive, slow, and sometimes irrelevant, making these passages difficult to read.
Torn between the merits of the book’s interesting story and its technical shortcomings, I wasn’t sure of my rating at first, but the ending of the book made the decision for me. Unfortunately, the final part of the story did not do the whole narrative justice in my eyes
The introduction of religion was the first oddity; though religion wasn’t mentioned throughout most of the book, it suddenly became a very important theme in the end. The way religion was depicted didn’t make sense to me, either. Jeremy seems to believe in reincarnation while his mom is a devout Catholic and there is no explanation given for the incongruence. In addition, a few plot points that were developed earlier in the book went nowhere and were never brought up again.
And finally, the actual ending was unsatisfying. It was abrupt with no payoff for the profound journey Jeremy went on. It would have been much more interesting, satisfying, and rewarding for me to see how Jeremy dealt with the experiences in this book and how he changed because of them. The one-page epilogue seemed oddly out of place, too.
The disappointing ending sadly magnified the book’s shortcomings for me, which makes my final rating two out of five stars. I want to emphasise that I did like the story until the end, but due to the reasons listed above, I had to conclude that ultimately, the book was not for me. It does have plenty of great reviews, though! If you enjoy thoughtful contemporary novels with a dash of mystery and tragedy, this book is right up your alley. You can purchase it on Amazon here and visit the author’s website here.
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Photo by Léonard Cotte on Unsplash
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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.Donate