The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
by Phaedra Patrick
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Length: 331 Pages
Release date: May 3, 2016
Blurb via GoodReads:
In this poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.
But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.
If I had to sum up The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper in one word, it would probably be “cute.” Arthur Pepper is an endearing if somewhat clueless and self-centered protagonist. The whole concept of the story depends on Arthur having spent his entire marriage to Miriam never bothering to ask about her life before they met. This was totally baffling to me as a reader, but if you can handle that much suspension of disbelief, you’re in for a charming adventure of self discovery.
Arthur is utterly untethered without his wife. The story begins one year after her death, and Arthur seems to still be floating along in a fog, waiting out each day rather than living it. He is unspeakably alone. His wife is gone, he avoids the few neighbors who try to reach out to him, and he is more or less estranged from his adult children. Basically, the story begins with Arthur at rock bottom. Miriam’s charm bracelet gives him something he desperately needs: a goal that forces him to reach out to other people. Arthur cannot learn about Miriam’s post without connecting with the people who were a part of it.
The story that follows bounces around between zany and poignant moments, from Arthur’s encounter with a tiger to reconnecting with his children. This book will make you laugh and think about human connection, and about how our comfort zones can become self-imposed prisons.
Have you read The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper? What were your thoughts?
Do you have a favorite book about self discovery?
Discuss in the comments!