Have you ever read a book that hits very close to home? The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce was that book for me. Frank owns a music store. Not just any music store. A music store I would love to visit. Frank only sells vinyl records. His store is not fancy, in fact its pretty worn down. In that worn down store that sells only records Frank gives his customers exactly the music they need. He listens to people and knows exactly what kind of music they need to listen to. He doesn’t lump all genres of music together. If you love James Brown there is no reason you wouldn’t also love Puccini and Stairway to Heaven. In Frank’s store these three pieces of music would be shelved together because to Frank they go together. Frank has his store, the people on his street and he is content with life. Then one day he meets Ilse Brauchmann and his life will never be the same.
I loved Frank and Ilse! They were such quirky somewhat awkward characters. My favorite kind of character! I love characters who don’t always know what to say and sometimes say really off the wall things and do clumsy, awkward things. I think I probably love those characters so much because I relate to them very well. I also loved Frank’s friends, they were also awkward characters just trying to figure out life.
The Music Store is a character driven book and I loved the growth that Frank and Ilse achieve by the end of the book. They each have pasts that they need to overcome and move on from and they are able to do that through the power of music. The things that Ilse had to get past were things that I could really relate to and that is where the book became very personal to me.
If you are a music lover you will love all the music references in this book. If you don’t love music this is still a great book for you because in this book Frank will teach you about the power of music. “As he listened, it was like doors opening, one after another. The notes started running when he thought they should go slow. They walked off to the side when he was sure they should go straight ahead. They grew fins and swam just as he had got used to them having legs. It was like knowing something and not knowing it at all.” I love music and I also loved the parallels that were drawn between life and music. “Jazz was about the spaces between the notes. It was about what happened when you listened to the thing inside you. The gaps and the cracks. Because that was where life really happened: when you were brave enough to free-fall.”
This was the first book I have read by Rachel Joyce and I will be looking up the other things she has written. I will be recommending The Music Shop to lots of people this year because like music it is a book I keep thinking about.