I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Green Man by Michael Bedard
Published: Tundra Books (2012), eARC, 304pg
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction
Teenaged O – never call her Ophelia – is about to spend the summer with her aunt Emily. Emily is a poet and the owner of an antiquarian book store, The Green Man. A proud, independent woman, Emily's been made frail by a heart attack. O will be a help to her. Just how crucial that help will be unfolds as O first tackles Emily's badly neglected home, then the chaotic shop. But soon she discovers that there are mysteries and long-buried dark forces that she cannot sweep away, though they threaten to awaken once more. At once an exploration of poetry, a story of family relationships, and an intriguing mystery, The Green Man is Michael Bedard at his finest.
I hadn’t realized that The Green Man is a sequel to another book when I requested it at NetGalley, but in retrospect I don’t think it matters all that much. Apparently it’s got some of the same characters from the first book in it, but the POV is mostly from a new character, so I didn’t feel too annoyed that I read the sequel first.
What I liked best about The Green Man is that it’s mainly about the importance of poetry, of poets, and how poets use poetry to navigate the world around them. There’s a secondary plotline (which is where the magical realism shows up), and to be honest that part of it felt less well-integrated into the story than everything else did. It builds up into a big– and important– thing by the end of the book, but the end is SO different from the beginning that it’s like they belong to two different books.
I loved the first plotline. I like poetry, and I like bookstores, and I like weird people who spend their whole lives ensconced in poetry and books. The second plotline was neat, but I was less enamored of it than I was of the other. I suppose that would be where reading the first book would have come in handy: I’d have been more invested in the fantasy part of the plot more and I’d probably have liked the book more overall, too.
Still, despite the problems I had with the merging of the plotlines, The Green Man is an enjoyable book with a lot of stuff I adore reading about. It’s got poetry! And romance! And summers spent in bookstores! Small town stuff where the small town is a good thing rather than a bad thing! Magical realism thingies! And a protagonist who’s smart and likable and just a little bit of a worrywart.
Read: January 2-3, 2012