A Note In The Margins
By Christina
May 22, 2009 - 4:18:18 PM

John McCann’s is plagued by constant migraines. His doctor has determined that the migraines are stress related. Apparently, John will work himself into an early grave unless he makes some immediate and drastic changes. The last thing he wants to do is leave his job but he has to admit that things need to change so he comes up with a compromise. He agrees to take a year long leave of absence, and takes a temporary lease on a small bookstore in a quiet neighborhood, as far away from his fast pace, high powered life as he can stand to get.

At first, John is uncomfortable with Margins relaxed and friendly atmosphere. He doesn’t deal well with people and he is determined to focus on increasing the bookstore profits, business being the only thing that he is truly comfortable with.


When John notices a homeless man sitting in a corner reading he is repulsed and ready to throw him out onto the street. He is sure that the dirty and smelly man will drive customers away. He is surprised to discover that David often comes to the store and reads the second hand books. Despite his better judgment, he agrees to let David stay. David is quiet and intense and John is strangely intrigued by him.


Ms. Rowan grabbed my attention almost from the very first sentence. The author’s description really brings the store and the people in it to life. John like many of us simply wants to pretend that homeless people like David don’t exist. David makes John question what he knows about his world in a situation where he is already uncomfortable. The author does a great job of fleshing out John and David’s characters, giving them both equal time in the spotlight and letting the reader gradually get to know them. These two men have many personal problems they have to deal with and I really enjoyed their profound affect on one another. As John begins to see David as a person he begins to change in a very meaningful way. As they get to know one another, both John and David begin to heal their wounds and both their worlds change for the better. Their relationship isn’t always easy, what they share can at times be messy and complicated but it is also intense, tender and very sweet.


John and David are also altered by their surroundings. Both men benefit from spending time at Margins. The book store is an intriguing place and the people who work and shop there are equally interesting. Jamie in particular is a fun and lively addition to the story.  A NOTE IN THE MARGINS by Isabelle Rowan is a beautifully written novel about the wonderful things that can happen when people take the time to look past the surface, and get to know one another as fellow human beings. I highly recommend it.


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