The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
written by Gabrielle Zevin
published by Algonquin Books 2014
Did I enjoy this book: The emotions that I felt while reading this book were extraordinary. I can’t say enough good things about it. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry should be given to any book lover or anyone who wants to feel emotion. I pretty much felt the whole spectrum of human emotion, and no, it isn’t just because I turned thirty. It was because this book brought me joy, sorrow, love, and faith, and a lot of book nerd moments mixed into one. A.J. Fikry is the type of man I want to meet at a bookstore and sip wine with while we talk about books. I truly do wish that he was a real person, but he’s at least going on my list of favorite characters in literature.
“Remember Maya: the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in books and also in life.”
“Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.”
Would I recommend it: Yes, yes, yes! I can’t recommend it enough. I would slip it into random people’s mailboxes if I could.
About the book – from Goodreads: 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.