Monday, November 14, 2022

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

The Bridge of Little Jeremy
by Indrajit Garai
Format:  E-ARC
Publisher:  Indrajit Garai
Number of pages:  370
Published:  March 17th, 2019
Source:  Author in exchange for an honest review

"The noise in the attic wakes me again." 

12-year-old Jeremy and his single mother live in a small flat in Ile Saint-Louis, an island in the Seine River in Paris, France.  Jeremy's mom works in a nursing home and money has been tight ever since the operation that saved Jeremy's life.  Jeremy continues to have difficulties with his congenital heart defect and has been home schooled until he fully recovers.  Secretly, Jeremy has been selling his sketches and saving his earnings to help his mother.  One day, Jeremy is startled by a noise in the attic, upon investigating he finds a map, a ring of keys and a paper with calculations on it.  Curious as a young boy would be, he begins to explore the cellar for clues and happens upon a secret room and a painting with a gold frame.  Half of the painting appears to have been damaged too, and he can only make out the artists first name, Vittorio.  Finding the painting opens up many questions about its origins, who the artist was, and who stored it in their cellar?  As Jeremy begins to explore the painting further, he also learns that his mother is having financial difficulties.  Due to an unintended error by his grandmother and now mother not paying the inheritance tax on their flat, they're at risk for losing the flat if they can't repay the debt they owe to the State.  Hoping to help his mom, Jeremy sets out to restore the painting, can he earn enough to save their home?  

I was contacted by Estelle Leboucher, the godmother of Indrajit Garai's daughter regarding reviewing his book.  As soon as I read the premise and found out it was set in Paris, I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read.  Jeremy is a dear, wise soul.  He's an explorer, painter, both inquisitive, and observant, especially of nature and the things around him.  He goes into great details in the story about his travels around Paris as he gathers information about the painting and Vittorio.  It was interesting to learn about the connection that the painting had to his family and I really wish I could see the things he describes in person.  Jeremy's also a subtle storyteller in his own paintings, so kind and protective of both his mother and his dog, Leon.  I was really saddened by Jeremy's life of solitude while his mom was working, and the loneliness he must have felt.  Sure, he goes out each day exploring in Paris with his trusty companion, Leon, but I had hoped for a friend to enter his life.  He did have a babysitter and many adults who helped him, but it's not quite the same.

The story beautifully depicts Jeremy's love for his mom and Leon, his thoughtfulness and how important art was to him.  I also really liked Paolo, the man who sells Jeremy's sketches and only takes 10% as his fee.  Paolo is the one who helps Jeremy to expand his restoration, to make it come alive while also being historical accurate.  They have wonderful conversations about how "viewing is not a collective art", and how "beauty wouldn't be beautiful if it came in plenty."  I should caution that this story would also be considered a sad book with an ending that at first feels like an about face from the direction it was heading, although the more I reflect on the book there are moments of tragedy leading up to it that shouldn't make it a complete shock.  I'd still keep a tissue handing when reading this.  Because of the messaging expressed in the book about art and beauty and the ending being sad, I'd recommend this to a mature middle grade reader. 

**I'd like to thank Estelle Leboucher for the gifted ebook, I really enjoyed reading this touching story. **      

I hope you'll check all the other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.   


  1. This sounds a beautifully written, compelling and emotional story! I will have to watch out for it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for featuring this title on MMGM. Jeremy sounds like a memorable character and the setting has this on my future read list.

  3. This sounds like it has a great storyline, and I love the setting. Thanks for sharing it this week.

  4. Wow, sounds like a heart-wrenches! Thanks for sharing your review!