Genre: Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Published: April 1st, 2014 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Hardcover, 260 pages
How I Got This Book: Checked it out from the library
Why I Picked It Up?: Because the blurb just sounded SO BOOKISHLY AMAZING! The title grabbed me from the first time I saw it featured in Library Journal, and I have been anxiously awaiting my chance to read it!
Book Jacket Blurb: “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.”
I will be honest–I have wanted to read this book ever since I saw the title of this in a review journal! I mean, seriously, THE STORIED LIFE sounded like a book that was written for my bookish self, right?
A. J. Fikry is a lonely man who has been running his bookstore by himself since his wife was killed in a car accident. His whole life revolves around the store, but he is not happy. He just exists. Until the day that a package is left in his shop–then his whole life changes forever.
This is a story about a man who has lost everything–his wife, his will, and his valuable book–and yet life gives him something to start caring about again. Throughout this book, we experience the character growth of A. J. If I classified this story, I would call it a re-coming of age story, because honestly, this is about A. J. finding himself again. This is a personal journey, filled with more love than he could ever have hoped for. This is a fun journey, filled with books and quirkiness. This is a relatable journey, one that hits you straight in the heart and gives you all the feels.
Gabrielle Zevin has a beautiful talent for story-telling. From page #1, I was completely enamored with the story, the writing, and the characters. To me, this story was a gift, a most precious reading experience. For sure, this is a story and a book I can see myself visiting over and over again, and getting something different out of it each and every time. That marks a special book, and by golly, this book is so special. So special that I don’t want to tell you anymore. But, I will leave you with something……
Because I wrote down so very many quotes from this novel, I will leave you with a couple of my favorites!
“…what, in this life, is more personal than books?”–page 18
“When I read a book, I want you to be reading it at the same time. I want to know what [you] would think of it. I want you to be mine. I can promise you books and conversation and all my heart.”–page 154
My Bookshelf Rating:
This book is oh so beautiful and bookish. It tugged at my heart from very first sight and just kept tugging until well after I was through. This is the story of a man who has lost everything of value to him and found something he never knew he needed. Zevin’s lyrical writing beautifully paints this powerful story across every page in this book. Even thinking about it now….I just can’t stop smiling!
“We are what we love. We are that we love.”
Love and Bookstores,