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

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* CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE BOOK

Do perfect books exist? Is it possible to read a book and not find anything wrong with it? I’m in no way as well-read as the characters in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, so I’m uncertain how to answer these questions. But I simply loved this book!

THE STORY

When we meet the owner of Island Books, A.J. Fikry, we learn fairly quickly he’s a cranky guy and it’s difficult to have a pleasant conversation with him even about books. However, there are a few reasons behind his nasty attitude. Not only is A.J. mourning his dead wife, business for the bookstore is bad and his beloved, rare book of Poe poems has been stolen. As a result, A.J. cuts himself off from other people, drinks himself into blackouts every night and is on the verge of giving up on both (horror!) books and life. But guess what A.J.? Life has some funny plans in store for you! When a toddler is abandoned at his bookstore, A.J.’s world begins to take some beautiful turns. He decides to adopt the charming little tot, then seek baby help from his sister-in-law and her writer husband. He becomes friends with a police officer on the island and re-evaluates his un-gentlemanlike behaviour towards Amelia, an eccentric and cheerful publishing house rep. In letting people back into his life, A.J. discovers second chances are possible. Even for a guy like him.

THE GOOD

Everything you will hear about this book is true: it’s lighthearted, warm and will speak to the hearts and minds of book nerds across the universe. From the short stories selected to introduce each chapter to A.J.’s crass opinions on genres, writers, readers, etc. to arguments over e-readers, this book is bursting at the binding with funny literary references that will make you smile and nod your head.

THE BAD

Honestly, I don’t have anything bad to say about the book. Sometimes the conversation between the characters is a little too cute, but that’s it!

CONCLUSION

Without a doubt, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I love how Gabrielle Zevin celebrates books, writers and reading in this book, as well as pokes fun at some of the snobbish and silly aspects of bookish life. Even if you haven’t read the books referred to in the story, you will understand the jokes. My favourite character was A.J. because even though he was so brusque, he had great deadpan observations, and I enjoyed reading about his journey to happiness. I don’t know for sure if perfect books exist, but this book was pretty darn perfect to me. Maybe that’s all that counts!

NOTE: Thanks to Penguin Canada, I received this ARC through NetGalley.

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13 Comments on “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin”

  1. writereads says:

    I won’t read your review because of the spoilers, but I’m so glad you loved it. I love Zevin as an author and I am REALLY looking forward to this read. – Tania

    • I haven’t read anything else by this author. What you would recommend?

      • writereads says:

        Her YA book Elsewhere is a great read about a 14 year old who, under odd circumstances, is forced to life her life backwards until the day she was born.
        I also really liked the first in the YA Birthright series, All These Things I’ve Done. It’s a unique read about prohibition and crime as it’s set in a future where chocolate and coffee have become illegal and there is now a criminal element providing these substances. The second book in the series isn’t quite as strong, but they usually aren’t.

  2. Cedar Station says:

    I’m on a wait list for this one, glad to hear it’s so good!

  3. Naomi says:

    I’m so glad you loved this book! I can’t wait to read it!

  4. heavenali says:

    So glad you loved this I did too 🙂

  5. kmn04books says:

    Great review! I was definitely nodding and smiling the whole way through the book!

  6. Hooray for A.J. Fikry! 😀 I want to pass this book out to everyone I meet

  7. […] can read more reviews of this book at Honey, I’m Reading!, One Little Library, What Me Read, Doing Dewey, One More Page, and Reeder Reads.  I have read […]


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