Louisiana Saves the Library by Emily Beck Cogburn was a Net Galley read and was published by Kensington Books on January 26, 2016. It defies easy genre categorization but if you must define the genre than Women’s Fiction I guess.
The book is brilliant. The characters are complex and are people, individually and collectively, you’d like to sit down and enjoy a beer or two. They are funny, flawed, unique, and realistic.
The book opens with Louisiana Richardson, our protagonist, isn’t immediately likeable. In fact, Louise, as she goes by, isn’t a character I could identify with or even liked. She was timid and afraid of her own shadow. Something kept me reading however and I’m thrilled I did.
The growth of Louise and the other characters was phenomenal. She grew up and natured within the framework of the story. She never quite outgrows the timid streak but she was artfully written and developed.
Best part of the book? The true protagonist, in my opinion, is the library of Alligator Bayou. It goes from a dismal, neglected small town library to the center of life of Alligator Bayou. Libraries and librarians are true forgotten heroes today. Libraries contain the wonders of the written word, social hubs, community events, and refuges from whatever is going on in the outside world. Librarians are the glue that holds the various pages of the differing agendas of the library together. They can point you to that obscure biography you need to read, issue library cards to young minds who are eager for the thirst for knowledge, and they coordinate all of those various activities that occur in the library.
As you can tell, libraries and librarians hold a special place in my heart. The book lived up to my lifelong love of libraries. To be honest, it reminded me of my love affair for the last forty-five years.
Five stars out of five stars for a superbly written novel about a lost institution we cannot afford to let die.