#Book Review: The Lost for Words Bookshop

Author: Stephanie Butland

The Lost for Words Bookshop is another beautiful story of community, support, friendship, and love. However, this story is more than that because it is also a story of domestic abuse. What is more, it is also a story of early socialization and how it impacts adult life. It is well known that children who witness domestic abuse often end up victims of abuse themselves later, or they end up repeating those patterns and becoming abusers themselves (see here). In this book, Loveday becomes a victim of abuse later, thus repeating the pattern, and what is more, she also developed, as a child, anxiety and panic attacks, which is what commonly happens to children and whilst this consequence is short-term, other things stay long-term (here). In addition to that, children who witness domestic abuse often show behavioral and social problems and become socially isolated, which is beautifully portrayed in this book with Loveday’s character who struggles with forming bonds and social connections.

Image: Amazon

Loveday is a child from a marriage where domestic abuse happened with her father abusing and beating up her mother after he lost a job and ended up struggling to find another one. Loveday witnessed abuse and listened to arguments that led to physical assaults and eventually ended up in foster care and running away from her past, hiding her identity and life story not believing anyone would accept her for who she is. Interestingly, Loveday also has happy memories from her childhood with both of her parents, showing how unemployment and financial struggle affect families. In other words, before her father lost a job, there was no abuse or arguments, but things went sour with the job loss, which happened due to a fight her father had with a colleague, thus showing violent tendencies, which were exposed outside of the home, then spilled into family life once the job was no longer there.

Loveday also developed a peculiar practice of tattooing statements from books she read. Books indeed provided her comfort and an escape from the reality of being a child from foster care in a school and they enabled her to disengage from the world and find comfort in solace. Later, they became her world when she, at a very early age, started to work in a bookshop of what appears to be a wealthy man with a government work history who gave her a chance. But, in that bookshop, she met her first boyfriend Rob who slapped her, after which she walked barefoot to her place, following him hiding her boots to stop her from leaving. She later meets another guy and then struggles to recognize love, pushing him away, etc. It takes an accident to realize who her true allies are, that things are not always what they seem, and that some people know her story but love her nonetheless. What is more, books that her mother purchased with her, during a happier part of her childhood, mysteriously appear in the bookshop and Loveday contemplates, throughout the book how they ended up there…

What particularly appealed to me in The Lost for Words Bookshop is that Loveday talks about her life to us, the readers, and that she explains her feelings and why she acts the way she does, with which we enter the mind of a foster child who witnessed abuse, then later became a victim of the abuse herself. At the end of the book, I read the author spoke to social workers and other involved professionals from the care system and this does show in the book because Loveday’s emotions and thinking processes are beautifully narrated. Whether you are a usual cheerleader or not, you will cheer Loveday in this book. The ending, which I will not mention, is also touching with a bookshop event Loveday organizes, and that features interesting associates and unexpected turns and twists …

Finally, and I always say this, but it needs saying; this is another story from a British author writing about communities, the power communities have to transform lives, and how friendships that happen in communities last and change people’s lives for the better. What is more, The Lost for Words Bookshop celebrates book shops, local businesses, and books themselves.

I loved this!

Thank you for reading!

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