By Gabrielle Zevin
Rating 5/5 Stairs
We are almost halfway through the year, and I already feel like I have had amazing luck with books in 2017. I have read a lot of beautiful books this year. Add A.J. Fikry to that list.
Originally, I added this to my TBR several years ago when it was first released, excited to read a book about a bookseller. I mean, what book lover doesn’t want to read a book about a bookseller, right? But then I saw some mixed reviews on the book, and it kept moving down my TBR list.
I recently saw the audio book sitting on the shelf in the library and decided to give it the old college try. And it serves as a reminder to me — everyone has different taste in books, and if I’m excited about a book I shouldn’t worry if it wasn’t someone else’s cuppa. My instincts were right, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of my favorite reads this year.
When we first meet A.J., he is a cranky, depressed, widowed man in his mid-40s. And then two things happen that completely change the course of his life. The reviews I saw didn’t give away the plot, and I won’t either. But the story took a very unexpected (and pleasant) turn.
I loved reading about A.J., his bookstore, the town, and his life. The characters feel real and their lives are compelling. Ms. Zevin does a great job tying up lose ends throughout the novel for the reader, while leaving the majority of the characters in the dark on all of the facts.
I will also add that I recommended The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry to my husband, who read (and finished it) while traveling a few weeks ago. His reading genre of choice is non-fiction adventure memoirs, and he enjoyed this book almost as much as I did.
He was sure I liked it because of the bookstore setting, and that each chapter starts with a short story recommendation from Mr. Fikry. Don’t get me wrong. I did like that part of the story.
But what I adored is that at it’s core, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a beautiful tale of a man who finds a second chance in his life, and he takes it.