Today I’m sharing a review for a book I read last month for a book club group. Everyone in the group enjoyed this novel and if memory serves correct, it didn’t receive less than 3.5/5 stars from anyone.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I’ve always enjoy reading books that are written about books. This novel takes place in a bookstore on a small island. Can a place ever really feel like home if there isn’t a bookstore? This story is about a man that opens a bookstore and loses his wife at a young age. He becomes a loner and is perfectly fine with the way his life is but with a turn of events he loses a valuable book work hundreds of thousands of dollars, and practicality in its place he finds a young 2 year old girl, that he decides to adopt.
One of the main themes of this book is the idea that often times things happen at just the right time that we need them to. Somethings are for better and some are for worse, but timing is important. There’s also a major theme of life and love and living. Some people can change and one of the ways we live our lives is through the people that we love.
I loved the idea that your favorite book says a lot about who you are as a person. I don’t have a single favorite, though I suppose that could tell you that I tend to be indecisive, which is totally true.
One thing I would’ve changed about this book that bothered me a bit was the note that precedes each chapter. I think it wouldn’t been better placed at the end of each chapter rather than the beginning. In essence the note connects a book with the events that take place within the chapter, but one of the sections alludes to a nickname for one of the characters that isn’t given to that individual until later in that chapter which made for a bit of confusion. Overall, this was an easy and enjoyable read and I would recommend it to all that enjoy reading fiction.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I borrowed a hardback copy from my local library. All reviews 100% reflect my honest opinion.
About the Book
Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Published: April 2014
Book Blurb: On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.
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 Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over 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, A.J. 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, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry 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.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or 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. 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.
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As comforting a read as a warm bath!