Hello everybody! I’ve decided that for today I’ll do a little book review of a book I’ve just finished and that I found surprisingly good and it’s “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin. When I’ve picked up this book and started reading, I was like “It’s been out for a long time… It’s odd, I’ve never heard of it.”. That wasn’t because I was supposed to hear about every book that is out but the minute I got into reading this one, I was sooo into it I didn’t know why no one was talking about it. The reason I got it out of my TBR was because: 1) It was short. 2) It was short. 3) I think you got my point by now. With exams coming up, I have NO time to read but I still do so…
Apart from “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak (which is, by the way brought up in the book by Zevin), I haven’t really read any book that’s about books. At least, I don’t recall any. And I have read none where the main character is the owner of a bookshop (dream job, right!). I don’t know about you but I think that what’s nice about some books about books is that you get book references: Get to discover new authors/books and to enjoy that pleasurable feeling you get when you understand the reference because you feel like you’re all in some sort of “club” y’know?
THE STORIED LIFE OF A. J. FIKRY
Published April 1st 2014 by Algonquin Books
SYNOPSIS: 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. 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. 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.
THOUGHTS: I frankly have no idea how I’ve heard about this book. I found it in my pile so I guess it’s probably been founded in a video on Youtube, I guess? I have a problem of ordering books not even knowing what they’re about just when they’ve been recommended by some trusted bloggers/booktubers. But I think what attracted me was the “Fikry”. I always find books with arab characters intriguing when they’re written by foreign authors somehow. What I didn’t know then was that this book wasn’t exactly “arab-esque” because, well, Alice Island! (Even though there is no Alice Island, to my knowledge and Google’s, I think).
As mentionned earlier, this book is about books. A.J.Fikry is a grumpy bookshop owner who’s just lost his wife to a car accident and a treasured book that costs a fortune that he was planning to sell to finance his retirement but things don’t turn the way he wanted and he ends up grumpier but with a surprise awaiting him. I usually find it hard to like pessimistic, non-open-to-new-ideas characters. They’re hard to like! With A.J., it was different! I felt really sad for him being 35 and already so desperate and lonely missing his wife! When I heard him talk about books, that’s when I felt the bond between us get created. You can’t help but fall in love with the character through the book, despite his flaws. Everything about this book was relatable which is why this book is so meant for book readers and I bet you are one if you’re reading this! There are so many book references, you’ll certainly enjoy understanding some of them or maybe discovering the books he’s talking about. I’ve definitely checked like a dozen books out and added them to my TBR (that keeps growing but let’s not talk about that).
Not only does this book talk about books but also about loss and gain, second chances, suicide, depression, love. The story’s heartwarming setting a very cozy atmosphere. It comes together so beautifully at the end. I wasn’t expecting to read it as fast as I did (now I have to find another book to last me till the exams) and I surely wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. I especially love the references and I keep referring to them. So much bookish goodness that you just can’t put it down! It made me want to own a bookshop also. I just spent all afternoon telling everybody that I wanna own one.
I don’t think I get to say much more about the plot because that’s what’s actually interesting about this book: how things unfold and that, you gotta find out by yourself. The less you know, the better! You get to see the character progress over a long period of time which is also interesting as you get to meet other characters who are just as lovable. They’re all so real! So basically, you’ve got the main character just growing on you and then secondary ones (especially the chief officer, Lambiase) who are fantastic and well made! The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that there could’ve been more character development so I wasn’t quite satisfied when it came to that but it’s okay.
This is the first book I’ve read that was written by the author so I didn’t really pick the book having any kind of expectations and can’t compare it to her other works but I can say that this has rather impressed me and that I’m looking forward to reading another book by her in the near future. She writes in a very easy way, using simple language but not to the point to make it bland or plain. There’s beauty in simplicity packed with messages. It fits the story very well.
So this is it, I hope you’ve enjoyed this and that it made you a liiittle bit more curious about the book and perhaps made you wanna read it. Let me know if you’ve read the book or any other book that’s about books and if you’ve liked or disliked it. Thanks for tagging along, see yaa! ❤