Title: Corner Booth
Author: Chautona Havig
Major Themes: Romance, Self-Image
Synopsis: After sharing a booth with a complete stranger at a local cafe, Carlie ends up meeting him for lunch every week—even though he never says a word to her.
Carlie was in a hurry to get her lunch at a new-for-her cafe. The cafe was crowded and the wait would mean she didn’t have enough time to eat—but when she spotted a man sitting by himself in a corner booth, and the waitress handing him his check, she asked him if she could sit at the table so she could eat sooner. Without a word he cleared a space for her. The next week she came back to see if he was there. Again she shared his table, and again he said not a word. Eventually, she learned Dean’s name and that he was a professor at the local seminary—but he still kept his mouth shut when it came to Carlie, although he talked enough to other people! Carlie found herself telling him everything that was happening in her life, her dead-end job, her abusive boyfriend, and how stupid she thought she was.
Over the course of the next several months, Carlie and Dean continued to have lunch together every week. They faced danger and sorrow together—but Dean still never talked to her. Until one week that Carlie didn’t show up and Dean found himself very worried. What could have happened? Will Carlie ever realize she is worth something? Will Dean learn, not only to listen, but also to share himself?
I appreciated seeing how Carlie became the woman she was. The way her family related to her as she was growing up had a profound impact on her life, and really made me think about the way I relate to my children. Do they understand that I love them, and that they are worth something, not only in my eyes, but in God’s eyes? How will our family dynamics affect each of my children, and how can we improve in the way we treat each other? As in all of Chautona Havig’s books that I’ve read so far, Corner Booth really made me think. I also appreciated the lack of description in romantic scenes. A fun facet of the book was the variety of foods on the menu at the cafe—a different combination was ordered nearly every week! The waitress was very lovable as well. I loved how real the characters were. They were very life-like.
On the other hand, it seemed to me that romance was the main point of Corner Booth. I really don’t mind some romance in books, but I prefer it to be a secondary part of the story rather than the main point. Some of Chautona’s other books, such as the Aggie series or the De-cluttering Junkie book, while they included some romance, certainly focused more on other themes. I appreciated that. While I did love Corner Booth, it was not one of my favorites.
Update on May 12, 2022: When I first read Corner Booth, six or seven years ago, it didn’t do a lot for me. I remember being disappointed by it, and just didn’t get much out of it. I just finished reading it again, though, and it really spoke to me this time. It really shows the worth of each person. There is a lot to learn about conversation, communication, and how to listen to other people in this story—but there is also so much about the value of each person. One of my favorite lines from this book, and which I think sums up the theme perfectly, is “You are a child of God, bought with a price beyond anything you can even imagine.” What a beautiful story!
WARNING: There are a few kisses mentioned.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults