There have been so many amazing books released this year, and Allegra Goodman’s The Chalk Artist is no exception. When I started reading, I wasn’t convinced that I would like this book. It seemed like one of those books I pick up because the cover is nice, and then let sit on my shelf, unread, for years. Fortunately, I actually read this book, because it ended up being one of my favorite new releases of the year (and I’ve read quite a few amazing new books this year).
(From Goodreads) Tension arises in the love affair of a young artist for whom nothing is permanent and his girlfriend, a teacher who believes that things are meant to last by the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist.
This is a compelling love story between two very different young people: Collin, a disarming chalk artist who thinks nothing of erasing his dazzling work, and Nina, an idealistic teacher who struggles every day to make a lasting impact on her students. Wanting Collin to realize his full talent, Nina warily introduces him to her powerful father, who owns the most cutting edge virtual reality game company in the world. Add to this a brilliant but unstable pupil of Nina’s who is gaming obsessed, and you have contemporary life caught in the crosshairs by one of our most charming and socially astute literary voices.
The Chalk Artist wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it ended up being something infinitely better. It took a few chapters for me to become fully immersed in the story, but it was completely worth it. I fell in love with the characters and their world. (Only a little because I miss Boston so much.) Each character was distinct and interesting, without being the least bit unrealistic. They all felt like real people, even when the things happening to them were outside of the norm. Goodman manages to make even Nina’s struggles with teaching seem other than mundane.
This is one of those books that was written for not just readers, but literature lovers. I really enjoyed how Nina’s love of literature allowed Goodman to share her own, to include Dickinson and Shakespeare and Whitman. I personally enjoy reading books by authors who clearly love books as much as I do. And I think it was one of my favorite elements of The Chalk Artist.
The one thing I didn’t love about this book was the ending. While I don’t think the ending was necessarily bad, it felt very rushed. So much of the story is drawn out and described in beautiful detail, and I felt that the ending was really lacking what I loved about the rest of the novel. It felt anticlimactic and a little bit like the author just wanted to be finished with the book, and it left me wanting more.
Overall, I found The Chalk Artist to be a great read. I was invested in the characters in the stories, and ultimately enjoyed reading it.
★★★★☆ – I really liked this book! It was very close to five stars, but I just wanted more from the ending. Still, I enjoyed it immensely, and plan on reading more of Allegra Goodman’s writing in the future! (If you’ve read any of her books, let me know what I should pick up next.)
The Chalk Artist will be in bookstores starting tomorrow, June 13! Get your copy on Amazon now – and be sure to check out my Instagram for a chance to win a copy of The Chalk Artist! I will be announcing the winner tomorrow.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose The Chalk Artist as one of your two free books!
This book was generously provided to me by Random House/Ballantine Books and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.