Rating: 5 Stars
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.
I can personally say that, this is, by far, my favorite read of the year, and honestly I wasn’t expecting it to be. It was a very short, enchanting novel, I started to feel the tone of the book when A.J. was ranting with Lambaise after his wife just died, and I was like, ok ok, so this is how it’s going to be. Undeniably A.J. was my favorite character, and probably one my favorite characters ever, he was kind of cynical and antipathetic but charming somehow and completely fun to read.
It was an extremely fast paced plot, had no time for inconsequential monologs or dialogs, it made it a very dynamic read. This book didn’t play with my feelings like other books intended to. Yes it dealt with sad topics, but it was like the writing always kept you upbeat, I mean I DID cry, but I never felt that my feelings were being manipulated.
This was a book about book lovers and it’s full of amazing quotes, which I’m sure you’ve read before.
…and I need to have this on my shelf; I need to buy a physical copy.
About The Author
Gabrielle Zevin is the New York Times Best Selling author of eight novels. For adults: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2014), The Hole We’re In (2010), and Margarettown(2005). For young adults: Elsewhere (2005), Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (2007), and the three books in the Anya Balanchine series, All These Things I’ve Done (2011), Because It Is My Blood (2012), and In the Age of Love and Chocolate (2013). Her books have been translated into over thirty languages.