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Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zavin

Hey all, Dani here.

Hello and good afternoon everyone. When this post goes live I will be roughly 8 hours into Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, and hopefully I’ll have read a good number of books by then. Don’t worry, I’ll have my readathon wrap-up posted along with my Weekly Wrap-Up on Wednesday. Or, if you’re impatient, which is fine, you can always check out my updates on Instagram (@danielle.thamasa) or my Twitter (@DanielleThamasa) for all the book and food posts.

Anyway, I’m back with another book about books review here during National Library Week. This is actually the final day of National Library Week, but I have a couple more reviews to share, so expect those in the next week. I’m going to have so many more review posts to write up after today’s readathon. At this rate I don’t think I’ll ever catch up on my backlist.

Oh well. At least I’ll never run out of content for the blog either. Anyway, let’s just go ahead and jump into today’s review.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 9781616204518


“Marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both.”—The Washington Post

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew.   

“This novel has humor, romance, a touch of suspense, but most of all love—love of books and bookish people and, really, all of humanity in its imperfect glory.” —Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child

“You won’t want it to end.” —Family Circle

“A natural for book groups.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“A reader’s paradise of the first order.” —The Buffalo News

“A fun, page-turning delight.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Captures the joy of connecting people and books . . . Irresistible.” —Booklist

“A wonderful, moving, endearing story of redemption and transformation that will sing in your heart for a very, very long time.” —Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“Readers who delighted in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and Letters from Skye will be equally  captivated by this novel.” —*Library Journal, starred review

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

This book was not what I was expecting, which is weird to say, because I didn’t exactly know what I was expecting with this one. The writing style threw me off from the beginning and it took me about 50 pages to settle in to that aspect of the tale. And of course, it’s right there at the 50 page mark that A.J. Fikry is left a mysterious package that changes pretty much everything in his life.

It was a pretty unexpected package, but I feel like it’s more fun to not know what this story is about. Having that vague summary and the blurbs and just kind of jumping into the story is probably for the best. You get to discover everything on your own, which is cool.

I will say that I liked that at each chapter break we get Mr Fikry’s insight into a different book, usually an older or more classic book. These mini book review pitches also show how A.J. is changing as things happen in his life and at his store and in the small town in which he lives.

This is a book about appreciating books and loving books, and there is a lot of heart and humor and emotion throughout. A.J. Fikry takes a little while to get used to, but he is a very interesting character.

And, because this book isn’t super long, I was able to pretty much read it in one sitting yesterday evening. So that’s nice as well.

I’m glad I read this. I understand the hype I’ve heard about this book. It didn’t quite reach that level of enjoyment for me, but I still did really like reading it.

Where to Get a Copy

You can grab your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore through IndieBound.

You can also check with your local library.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zavin”

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