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

Posted May 22, 2015 by Charlotte in Reviews / 0 Comments

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

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill on May 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 320
Format: E-Arc
Source: Netgalley
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As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.

The honest reason why I loved The Storied Life of AJ Fikry (should I be honest)? It is set in a bookshop, need I say anything more? I had serious book envy going on and these are fictional characters! They have a book shop, which they live above, and lots of book groups and friends who like books. Need I say anything more? It’s basically a book about BOOKS!

OK so the really review: This is a beautiful story starting from the time A.J.’s life changed when two year old Maya was abandoned/left in his book-store. Abandoned sounds harsh but that is exactly what happens. The change can be seen not only in the actual story but also in the bits that puncture the chapters. The letters filled with memorable quotes for Maya. It truly is his storied life.

Experience changes us. This can be told through the books we read, the way our understanding changes and the way we accept our difference as normal. Experience can define us, it makes us who we are today, but we have to be willing to experience in order to change. This is essentially one of the main themes in this book.

This is a warm, funny and bitter-sweet book that will sweep you off your feet. It will probably have you yearning for your own book-store but that’s probably just me. I fell in love with cranky A.J., with the adorable Maya and all the other characters in this book. I only thing I wanted was for it to be longer. It was an actual shock when I got the end.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry may be a short, quick read but it is a book that everybody needs to read. Especially bookworms!

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