Book Review: The Library of Lost and Found – Phaedra Patrick

The Library of Lost and Found

The Library of Lost and Found is a sort of coming-of-age story, but for a woman in her 40’s.

Martha Storm, volunteer Librarian, finds it easier to connect with books than with people. She’s a people-pleaser, finding her self-worth in doing things for others. From Nora’s incessant requests to do her laundry “and be sure to use fabric softener,” to Martha’s neighbor having her take care of his fish without paying much for fish food, Martha finds it hard to say “no.”

Since she was a child, Martha wrote stories to escape the suffocation of living with a controlling father. As she grows older, she takes on the role of caregiver to her elderly parents, giving up 15 years and the chance of a life with the boy she loved for them. They never seemed to appreciate her, even then. They die, and Martha is left doing things for others, never for herself, just like she’s always done.

All this starts to change when she finds a book of fairy tales dedicated to her – by her dead grandmother.

Martha begins a journey of finding out just what happened to Grandmother Zelda, and if she really died.

She decided that she wasn’t going to focus on always trying to please others.

When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves more into the past, she learns things about herself, secrets her family took to the grave – until now.

A charming book on finding yourself and making the life you want – no matter your age, The Library of Lost and Found was a heartwarming adventure through Martha’s eyes.

I found myself angry on Martha’s behalf during much of the book; she was taken advantage of by neighbors, library-goers, even her sister, and took so little in return.

I did think the book dragged on a bit in spots, and some of the storyline was cliche. But as Martha learns to put her foot down, refind joy in life and – after decades of not picking up a pen – writing again, I was thrilled. Martha grew as a person through the book, and learned to let others in, put up boundaries, and let go of the hurtful past, lessons we can all learn.

3.5 stars for the fairy tales interspersed through the book; otherwise, a solid 3 stars.

Favorite quotes from The Library of Lost and Found:

Sometimes there’s no right decision. Just the one you make at the time.

You’re still the same people, underneath.

She decided that she wasn’t going to focus on always trying to please others. She felt determined to take the time to get to know, and love, herself. And she hoped that the warm glow of appreciation she always looked for might actually come from within.

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