The Cambridge Geek

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

This was one of those things I listen to solely because it's possibly got a link to books and reading, however tenous that might be. It's outside of my usual area of interest, featuring absolutely no speculative elements (science fiction, fantasy, horror), but I still found myself greatly enjoying it. An infuriating experience I repeatedly have, in which I realise that I'm being horribly unfair by writing off everything that doesn't have wizards or robots in it, because there are still things I can enjoy in "realistic" fiction.

Probably best to do what I always do though and chuck that insight to one side, because I know myself well enough at this point that I know I'm still going to think "war on the moon? Sign me up."

Anyway, struggling as I am to admit that literary fiction has some merit, I'd probably best mention that this is a drama based on a novel, perhaps obviously named "The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend". I'm not likely to read the book, as I think I got enough story from this hourish of drama, but I'm sure some who listen to it will pop across to prose.

This, then, is the tale of Sara, a young Swede who has traveled over the pond to visit her penpal (and fellow voracious reader) in Broken Wheel, a (very) small town in Iowa. Unfortunately, said penpal, Amy, has managed to die between the last letter and Sara's arrival in Broken Wheel, which leaves her somewhat up the metaphorical creek without a metaphorical paddle.

Luckily, it's a welcoming town, which allows her to remain in Amy's house and indulge in her dreams of running a bookshop, while also setting up some tantalising possibilities with romantic locals. It's a story then about finding a new home and a place in it, and learning to accept that massive change as well as changing the environment to make a space in it for yourself.

There's a lot to pack in, but it never feels rushed, and each of the background characters manage to maintain their individuality in a form that often has to focus down heavily to a couple of leads and some surrounding noise. It also builds more tension than expected, such that I was a bit gripped by the ending.

I'll assume it's a good adaptation, but really all you need to know is that it's a decent hour and a bit of drama.

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Drama Cast Fiction Adaptation