Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.
June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.
(Story synopsis from goodreads.com)
The first Sarah Jio novel that I had read was Blackberry Winter a couple of years ago for my book club. (Read my review of Blackberry Winter here.) I was very impressed with Jio’s writing and the story that she had created, but it has taken me a while to read another novel by her.
Recently though, I finished reading Jio’s novel Goodnight June. I found this to be a very sweet story with lots of inspiration found throughout text (if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I was tweeting out many quotes as I was reading). I was (of course) drawn to the story simply because of its setting…a bookstore. As a lover of books, this immediately intrigued me about the story and its driving force.
While some might say that the story itself is simple, there is so much more to it than meets the first read. While reading this book, this a great message of self-discovery and finding your true passions in life. The main character, June, essentially has to face a decision of who she wants to be…and she is brought to that crossroad through the help of her recently deceased Aunt Ruby. It is through the discovery of letters between Ruby and her friend Margaret Wise Brown, that June is offered tokens of advice that these women shared with one another. Through one of the moments of doubt, June reads “No matter how dire it seems, no situation is hopeless.” This is a piece of advice that we can all follow and keep in mind, not only as we read Goodnight June, but also as we face our own challenges.
I found the walk down memory lane with the different references to children’s literature to be a great touch of whimsy on Jio’s part. I know that the idea was inspired by her children’s love of the book, Goodnight Moon, and it’s fascinating to see how Jio dreamt up the fictitious inspiration for the book.
There are so many great lessons to be learned, not only from the books we read, but from our lives and Goodnight June manages to convey those to the reader through the experiences of June. I would recommend this book to any who is looking for a little bit of whimsy in their reading, while also having a very relatable story.
“Stories are the air you breathe, and that air is laden with sustenance and spirit.” –Goodnight June by Sarah Jio