Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Title: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Author:Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: literary fiction

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads description:
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.

This book is simply adorable - both an homage to books and a gloriously happy look at people and family and love and all those other wonderful things in the world :)

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is part journey of self-discovery, part love story, and part love letter to books. It chronicles the life of a certain Mr. Fikry, an owner of a small-town bookstore. The story weaves in various (adorable) characters and anecdotes, but what really made this book special is how quiet and quaint it is. It's about the ups and downs of daily life and the people in your neighborhood; it's about the quiet power of words to provide comfort and inspiration. I know that might sound dull to people, but it's a really charming story and had me grinning and tearing up throughout.

I really loved the way the story had a diverse set of characters and broke a lot of conventions, but did so quietly. I am becoming more and more appreciative of books that include people of different races and backgrounds in their stories without making that a major deal. These characters are not only diverse ethnically and socioeconomically, they also bring to the table a decidedly unconventional love story (or two).

I really don't want to say anything about the plot for fear of spoiling things, but the story was engaging and it was a pleasure to watch these characters grow and mold to fit each other into their lives.

I think "charming" is by far the best word to describe this book. It brought a lot of smiles to my face, but also a few tears in my eyes, and when I finished reading, it was very bittersweet. I highly recommend reading this one while it's raining outside and you're curled up in bed - this book will give you all the warmth you need.

*An e-copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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  1. Added to my "to read" list.
    The average review rating for it on Goodreads is incredible, too! 4.5!
    My only disappointment is that I can't look inside the book on Amazon. So sad. :(


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