Before The Coffee Gets Cold Book Review – Book of the month

By Chloe Finn – From Bookish Society

Every month, the Bookish Society chooses a theme for their book of the month, and our December theme was wintry books. This could be books set in winter, a book themed around Christmas or just a cosy book to curl up and read with the cold weather outside. After some deliberation, our society had chosen two books to be their book of the month:

Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi – a Japanese translated literary fiction novel about a coffee shop that takes you back in time – and Merry Little Meet Cute – a Christmas themed rom com based around the filming of a Christmas movie. 

Out of the two, my favourite, by far, was Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

Based on a coffee shop that has the ability to take you back in time to a specific point in your life, Before the Coffee Gets Cold focuses on family and second chances. The question of ‘who would you see and what would you do if you could go back in time just once?’ is really played among this book. 

Each chapter is divided into different stories focused on different characters and their reasonings for wanting to go back in time, whether it be to see a lost sister, a lost lover or even to see the daughter they never got to know. The premise is intriguing, and Kawaguchi did not disappoint in that aspect. 

Although the main character changed with each chapter, the same reoccurring characters who ran the cafe would pop up now and then. Each character tailored to perfection that you just had to love their personality from the overzealous Fumiko to the cool and collected Kazu. Each character balanced the others out. 

What I found with this novel is that it left me wanting to know more. I wanted to know what happened to the woman who sat in the chair and why she never left. I wanted to know why the cafe had this magical power. This book toyed with my imagination more than I ever thought it would. 

In short, this book exceeded my expectations. I honestly wasn’t expecting how much I love this book! 

Kawaguchi’s writing is somewhat hard to follow to begin with, but it strikes hard in the emotional cords. The first chapter made me cry in second and I knew that I would only get more invested as time went on. The raw emotion portrayed is immaculate. 

I would definitely recommend this read to anyone and everyone who loves a book that intrigues and inspires. Family and friends are the main prospective of this novel and it’s a breath of fresh air. 

Trigger warnings include mentions of Alzheimer’s disease, chronic illness, death, terminal illness, pregnancy and car accidents. 

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