The Curious Charms Of Arthur Pepper
By Phaedra Patrick
‘A charming, unforgettable story.’- Harper’s Bazaar 40 years of marriage. 8 golden charms. One man’s journey of discovery. Tweet
If you enjoyed the Secret Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you will definitely enjoy this. I agree it is far fetched in places and how a man of that age can perhaps change his personality is someone unrealistic. However, it is packed with life affirming content and inspires us to make the most of life and seek happiness. It also places the value of a strong relationship (his marriage to Miriam). I loved it and I can assure you I am very critical of many so called life affirming novels out there.
I was really looking forward to reading The Charms of Arthur Pepper, as I loved the initial concept. Although it was an easy and somewhat engaging read, I was left wanting more because it just didn’t deliver for me.
The character of Arthur, who a year after losing his wife, sets out on a journey to discover what a charm bracelet found in her belongings, might mean for his memories of his relationship with her.
The book does manage to be nostalgic and poignant and times, with some beautiful images of his relationship with his wife without it becoming maudlin and full of self-pity, however, some of these are easily destroyed as we take the journey with Arthur and realise his wife kept a lot from him.
I struggled to engage with the novel because of the situations Arthur finds himself in are unbelievable and farcical, where he meets the most unrealistic characters which is just a little too convenient for me. I didn’t want him to be tested to his limits, but it was all a little bit clichéd and easy. Yet, there were other humdrum moments that jarred with this, and were dragged out for way too many pages and could have been said in one. The characters that I did find interesting and wanted to know about, were overlooked and not developed enough. I was hoping for a really strong novel, that made me think and feel, and sadly, it just didn’t.
A simple plot brought to life with emotion. I really enjoyed how Arthur came out of his shell after all those years, even if a little skeptical about how someone with OCD could suddenly break routine after a lifetime. I thought the level of description really brought out personalities, in particular Arthur and Nathan and also the places he visited. A good read for a quiet, reflective afternoon that leaves you thinking about your own habits and relationships.