Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


“My life is in these books, he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart.”

Feels. I’m sorry for using this cliché word, but I’ll put it to good use. If I could just quote the whole book, I would. Quote every single sentence up without any shame, I would. Who would have known that what lies behind this unpretentious book would hold the sole meaning of WHY we read and WHY SHOULD we read. It’s unfortunate that people would often ask me: why would you spend (or in their case, waste) so much time in reading? And of course, there’s no point in answering their inquiry since they’ll never understand not unless they’ve read a book, unless they’ve lived in one. There are things that cannot be explained in life, only felt, like reading for example. Words hold feelings; they make meanings out of it. In this book, you’ll understand why it is a necessity to read, why it is a necessity to live.

Characters. It’s a love or hate kind-of relationship with the main character, which was A.J. (who would’ve guessed?!). But thank God did I like him! He reminds me so much of myself. Snobbish, biased and arrogant–just few qualities I inherit myself. For example, what he had with YA books. I, myself, don’t find YA as appealing or as attractive compare to adult books. (I do read YA, but I do have my biases. And I stand by them) But if that’s not your kind of thing then don’t worry. People change, and so will he (A.J.).

Funny. In a witty and sarcastic way.

I wanted to cry, just to make it a little more dramatic.. But I guess, I’m not much of an actress. This book is mainly about books, which would entail that it’s also about people, life, love, mistakes, second chance, family, change, time, happiness, and death. So with that I’ll leave you with these quotes:

“You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?” 

“How to account for its presence [on this list of favorites] when I know it is only average? The answer is this: Your dad relates to the characters. It has meaning to me. And the longer I do this (bookselling, yes, of course, but also living if that isn’t too awfully sentimental), the more I believe that this is what the point of it all is. To connect, my dear little nerd. Only connect.” 

I guarantee that reading this book will touch your heart, only if you have one.

Rating: ✰✰✰✰✰

Do I like it: As much as I love books

Recommended to: To people like you

(Fully Booked, Hardcover, P 1148)

Below are information about this book.

Publication: April 1st 2014 by Algonquin Books (first published January 1st 2014)

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.


2 thoughts on “Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

    1. Wow, good for you! They should do that more in our country. I had to hunt this down out. And they had only ONE book in-stock in our local bookstore! Crazy.. Hope you’ll like it! 🙂

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