Book Review: The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

I must confess that this review is long overdue. It’s taken me four months to get through The Bridge of Little Jeremy to review it. But here we are, hopefully better late than never.

What is The Bridge of Little Jeremy about?

The adventure of a young Parisian artist and his dog. A novel of action and reflection; of fidelity and trust; of resilience, love, and the power of art:

Jeremy’s mother is about to go to prison for their debt to the State. He is trying everything within his means to save her, but his options are running out fast. Then Jeremy discovers a treasure under Paris. This discovery may save his mother, but it doesn’t come for free. And he has to ride over several obstacles for his plan to work.

Meanwhile, something else is limiting his time…

Review

This is a long book. It’s nearly 400 pages, and many of the chapters are quite long within that, and when you pair that with its slow pacing it can be a challenge to get through—at least on Kindle; I may have preferred it in paperback. I have mixed feelings on the pacing in general. I tend to enjoy slower books, and I did enjoy some portions of this book’s meandering flow. It’s a lovely look at the city of Paris, and some of the philosophical themes are interesting to ponder. However, it often felt like there was no driving plot—especially in the first half of the book. I wasn’t invested in the stakes or the goal, nor even really in the characters themselves. The setting was my primary motivation in reading, and while that was done well… I would have liked it to have been balanced with more interesting characters, at least, and ideally plot as well.

The characters weren’t unpleasant (with intentional exceptions), but for the most part they weren’t anything special. Jeremy’s narrative voice seemed inconsistent as far as how mature he sounded, and he rarely sounded like a 12-year-old. Leon, the dog, seemed to have far too human an intelligence. Paolo was intriguing, but we didn’t really get to see much of his character. And the rest were mostly just… there. There was little depth to any of the characters, really. And many exchanges of dialogue—especially between Jeremy and his mother—were extremely flat and unbroken by movement, which could make them hard to follow.

More interest did arise in the plot later in the book, as more conflict arose that had to be directly faced. But it didn’t feel like it fully wove in with the more internal conflict of the main plot, so the weaving of the two at the very end felt rather unsuccessful. And the ending as a whole was… odd. It seemed to continue longer than necessary after the primary conflict was resolved, and then the very end seemed unnecessary and a little weird. The religious undertones toward the end were very odd; they seemed inconsistent. And Jeremy’s perception of the painting as a being was reasonable at first but grew rather extreme in the last few chapters.

For the beautiful exploration of Paris and the interesting philosophical ideas sprinkled through the book, I can give The Bridge of Little Jeremy three stars, but I wouldn’t need to read it a second time.

Here’s a quote I did like:

Each of these roses is as beautiful as the one on that mound of compost, but, cramped together here, none of them stands out as distinct. And they don’t have the contrast of that ugly mass of compost to nourish their beauty.


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