Ty'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 ok

** spoiler alert ** I don't think it quite deserves one star, but I didn't end up liking it.

It tried to be this heartwarming yarn, with some unique(ish) formatting and a literary flavor. But a lot of it felt sallow, tagged on, and in the end, unnecessarily maudlin.

Just how many people had to die for this little story to make its point? And in my opinion, the last 15 years or so in fiction has spawned a "Cancer Chic," wherein the terrible diseased is used for a plot point, or a set dressing, or any number of other things that could be otherwise obtained. It feels at times like a lazy attempt to fling an arrow right into your heart. I've not doubt that true cancer stories deserve to be told, but this isn't one. It just uses it, (near the end I might add) to add superfluous drama the preceding pages didn't earn. Why not just have the burning brisket at Christmas engulf the whole house killing everyone, if you want to go for depressing as hell?

Then again, the characters seem far off, and we don't get much of a chance to care about them. I suppose the point was that the bookstore itself is the only character; it endures even as people come and go. But good lord, why skirt at the very outer edges of predictable human dramas so much if you are not going to get into them to any degree? Car crashes, disease, abandoned children, adultery. Not to mention a tiny quasi-mystery that really goes nowhere at all. As though the trail of bread crumbs the author leaves make a path to nothing more than...a loaf of bread.

Could have been much more, but it tried too hard to be awards bait. Or in the very least Hallmark movie treatment bait.

Didn't care for all of the head hopping and time shifting either.

Author has some talent, but it should have been put to better use than this.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 11, 2018 – Shelved
October 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

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