The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: Book Review

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 260


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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel by [Zevin, Gabrielle]


First Line: “On the ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skims her predecessor’s notes.”


Synposis 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.


My Thoughts

Hmm, where to begin?

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a book about, well, books (among other things). A.J. Fikry is a bookseller in a small, independent bookstore. His wife has died and he is in a bit of a slump. Books don’t seem to excite him anymore and he’s lost interest in just about everything. Then Maya shows up at his store, and his whole world changes.

This is a story of family, love, loss, and the importance of a good book! One of my favorite quotes from the book is “What, in life, is more personal than books?” It’s so true. You can really tell a lot about a person by what books they read!


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I read through The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry pretty quickly, and really did enjoy it! Gabrielle Zevin threw in the right amount of twists in the story, even though some I thought were a bit predictable! And although I really did love the story, I felt that the plot moved too fast. A.J. made a pretty big decision basically overnight and then the story just zooms on from there.


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I think The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is great for all book nerds out there! There are many book references and insights from A.J. Fikry that all book lovers will enjoy!


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You can find the book here!

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