Julie's Reviews > The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: books-about-books, contemporary-fiction

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a 2014 Algonquin Books publication.

Thanks to my Goodreads friend, Carol, for introducing me to this book!

Alice Island’s Exclusive Provider of Fine Literary Content since 1999

“No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World”

This is the second ‘books about books’ novel I’ve read this week, and I have to say, it’s nice to know so many people share the same enthusiasm for books that I do.

This story is poignant and bittersweet, but is also charming, touching and heartwarming. It’s a reader’s paradise and will soothe the brow of any book nerd who can’t help but feel a strong kinship with the characters, and maybe even recognize yourself in them just a little bit.

A.J. owns and operates the independent books store, “Island Books”, located on Alice Island, Massachusetts, alone after his wife is killed in a car accident. As he stumbles through each day in a fog of bitter grief, a series of events snaps him to attention and his life takes on a new direction, one he never could have imagined.

The first part of the book kept me in stitches. I’ve known literary snobs, and A.J. is one. I laughed out loud at his aversion to stocking Young Adult and children's books, and his opinion on series, and vampires. Then we got to the part where A.J. deals with customers and if you have worked in a bookstore or library you’ll relate, and again I’m laughing hysterically.

“Why is any one book different from any other book? They are different, A.J. decides, because they are. We have to look inside many. We have to believe. We agree to be disappointed sometimes so that we can be exhilarated every now and again.”

But, A.J.’s persnickety personality is soon softened by a very special surprise delivery to his shop, which gives him a new perspective on life and relationships, including one with the book sales representative, Amelia, who warms up to A.J. after getting off to a pretty rough start, and the local chief of police who becomes one of his best friends.

The story is like an homage to book lovers, reading, and the way books shape us and the impact they can have on our outlook on life, even in our relationships, our attitudes, and how they can inspire us through good and bad times.

I loved A.J. right from the start. I understood where he was in life at that very moment, and while I snickered at his drollness, his deadpan introverted nature, my heart broke for him.

It was an honor to watch him come back to life and embrace it with as much gusto has he could muster. Seeing his life enriched in such an amazing way was only part of the story. A.J. and his little bookstore also touched and enriched other’s lives all of them had a life much better than the one they would have had without him. He built an important legacy over the years, and that legacy, thanks to those he loved, will go on to extend the love of books and reading to people for a long time to come… even to those who love vampires, series, Young Adult, and Children’s books about orphans.

This a delightful story that lifted my spirits and warmed my heart.

5 stars

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Reading Progress

December 6, 2016 – Shelved
December 6, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
December 6, 2016 – Shelved as: books-about-books
December 6, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary-fiction
December 9, 2016 – Started Reading
December 10, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)

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message 1: by Kamala (new)

Kamala can't wait for your review :O)

Julie Kamala wrote: "can't wait for your review :O)"

I just got it downloaded from the library today!! Excited!

Linda Great review, Julie. Really enjoyed this one, too.

Mike Glad you enjoyed this one, Julie. I thought it was a special little book as well.

Julie Stephanie wrote: "Wonderful review!!"

Thank you, Stephanie!

Julie Linda wrote: "Great review, Julie. Really enjoyed this one, too."

Thank you, Linda!

Julie Mike wrote: "Glad you enjoyed this one, Julie. I thought it was a special little book as well."

Thank you, Mike!!

message 8: by sue (new)

sue Lovely review

message 9: by Wendy (new) - added it

Wendy Great review Julie!

Melissa Great review, Julie! :)

message 11: by StMargarets (new)

StMargarets Great review! And I love children's books about orphans. :)

Karen Great review, I just loved this book :)

Julie Sue1958 wrote: "Lovely review"

Thank you, Sue!!

Julie Wendy wrote: "Great review Julie!"

Thank you, Wendy!!

Julie Karen wrote: "Great review, I just loved this book :)"

Thank you, Karen!!

Julie StMargarets wrote: "Great review! And I love children's books about orphans. :)"

Thank you, StMargarets!! Me too!!

Julie Melissa wrote: "Great review, Julie! :)"

Thank you, Melissa!!

Carol Your reviews are always so beautifully written...

Julie Carol wrote: "Your reviews are always so beautifully written..."

Thank you, Carol! Your fantastic review inspired me to read this novel!!

Paula Kalin A charming review, Julie. It is a book lovers dream come true!

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