Review: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books (April 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1616203218
  • Source: Publisher

A.J. Fikry is…to put it gently, a curmudgeon.  After his wife passes away, he discovers his life isn’t as he planned. The small independent bookstore the couple owned on the small island of Alice is suffering. It’s peak season is summer when vacationers visit the store to stock up on their beach reads. A.J. isn’t your typical bookseller, to say the least. He’s quite particular in the books he stocks, not taking risks by only shelving what he knows will sell.  His wife’s death has left him a bitter, angry man.

When his prized book, a rare collection of Poe stories, is stolen, A.J. doesn’t think his life could get any worse. Everything changes when an item of the most unusual sorts is left behind at his store.  This delivery changes A.J., giving him the inspiration and guidance to seek a more fulfilling, happy life.  Although the life he is now living is certainly not what he expected, it is more than he could have ever dreamed.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is a story meant to be read and cherished by lovers of books. Never could I have imagined the vast beauty contained within one book. It had me laughing one minute, crying the next. By the time I finished reading it, my heart was full with emotion and the satisfaction of reading a book so poignant and brilliant.

The characters Zevin creates are so genuine it’s hard to believe they aren’t real people. At the onset, I despised A.J.’s character. He was mean  and callous, uncaring about who he offended. At the end, however, he was transformed into such a tremendous character, one of my favorite fictional characters I have ever come across. As I finished reading, I wanted to plan a trip to Fikry’s bookstore and to meet the people who played such a big part in his life. While that’s an impossible notion for obvious reasons, I am comforted to know that I can reunite with them at will, simply by opening up the pages of this tremendous book.

I don’t know if I can think of an audience that would not appreciate The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. It is a book readers will devour and fall in love with, a book you will want to talk about with everyone around you. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is a book about second chances, love, redemption and the love of books. Highly, highly recommended!

The audiobook production of this title is narrated by one of my favorites, Scott Brick. Guess what I’m listening to next?! Listen to a sample here.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Review: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

  1. This is the second positive (practically gushy) review of this one that I’ve read today, so clearly I need to put this on the wish list.

  2. Jenn,
    Wonderful review! I can’t stop gushing over this book. As I’m sure I mentioned before, I’ve read it twice — and it has taken up permanent residence on my nightstand so I can keep rereading it. I’m really excited about seeing Gabrielle in Milwaukee later this month — I requested her for our store, but didn’t get her . . . definitely worth a 90-minute drive. Thank you for your review; I will be sharing. Cannot wait to start hand selling tomorrow.

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