“The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin – Book Review

What a gem!  A little book with a big heart.  It grabbed me right away.  I didn’t want to put it down because that would mean it was over…. I even read the acknowledgments to prolong the inevitable when I would have to let it go.  “The storied life of A.J. Fikry” did everything a work of fiction aspires to do.  It made me think, it made me laugh, it made me weep."The storied life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin

This is the simple story (in that all lives are simple – yet vastly complicated at the same time) of bookstore owner A. J. Fikry who resides on a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts.  When we meet him he is a widower whose raw grief over the loss of his wife is ruining his life.  He drinks to excess, alone.

Then one day – while drinking – he decides to take out his prized possession.  An invaluable copy of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘Tamerlane’.  He is so drunk he gets sick and passes out.  When he awakes the next morning his rare book is missing!  Also, suspiciously… his kitchen has been cleaned up.  He reports the theft to the police.   Since he now feels that he owns nothing of any real value, he begins to leave his door open when he goes out.  One day he returns to his bookstore to find that someone has left a baby.  The little girl is accompanied only by a brief note and a stuffed Elmo.

This abandoned child will come to forever change A.J.’s life.  Maya is a charming, intelligent, beautiful and oh so precocious girl.  He lovingly calls her his ‘little nerd’.

Another person who will rock his world is Amelie, a publishing sales representative.  When first they meet he is bitter and still grieving his wife.  He make a less than positive impression.  Despite the rough start, over the years, their friendship develops into something more.

A.J. Fikry, his family and friends, have left an indelible mark on this reader’s soul.   A.J. Fikry believes you know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?   Well A.J.  I think your story is mine.   A love letter to the world of books, booksellers, and life in general.  Filled with quotes and wisdoms that will delight every person who considers themselves to be a bibliophile, Gabrielle Zevin‘s novel will set the bar for other novels.

I completely agree with the publisher’s statement that the novel is  “an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.”

Can’t recommend it enough…F 5 star

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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13 Responses to “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin – Book Review

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  6. Anjana says:

    I loved this book too, but did anyone else see resemblances with Silas marner? With regards to the story itself

    Liked by 2 people

    • Found in an online interview with the author Gabrielle Zevin:

      Q: In an interview with the blog Estella’s Books, you said you tend to gravitate to certain books when you’re working. What were the ones you gravitated to when working on this book?

      A: For reasons that may be obvious, Silas Marner. I’m not sure how much people still read this novel, but simply put, it is the story of a weaver whose life is transformed by the appearance of a child. During my most recent reading of this novel, I began to be taken with a pet theory about this book: Silas Marner’s weaving may be understood as a metaphor for George Eliot’s writing and the potential for loneliness in any intellectual pursuit. I was also interested in the way the book was plotted, as I had similar plotting concerns.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Juli Hoffman says:

    Lovely review! This book seemed like a modern day fairy tale. I liked it!!


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  9. Great review! Now I know I must read this one!


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