The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
How had I never heard of this book before? I feel like I must have been living under a rock or something. Or maybe the title/cover art wasn’t supremely appealing, and I judged it too harshly based on its cover. What a fool I was!
A friend from college recommended this book to me on goodreads, and she had never done that for me yet, so I was intrigued about a novel that had her so excited she would HAVE to share it with me.
Also in Mr. Fikry’s favor was that it was available on kindle unlimited 😛
This book can only be explained as a book lovers dream. I wish I had counted how many different times the author name dropped or references a book or author, but it was like sharing a secret every time I caught a reference. It makes a person feel good when they can understand an inside joke or nuance mentioned by the author.
A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner who lost his wife in a car accident 2 years ago, and ever since he has been slowly drinking himself into a stupor. He even has his retirement all planned out, he is going to take his rare copy of Edgar Allen Poe poems to auction, and live off the sale. Since it is worth about $400,000, it would be quite a comfortable life indeed. Too bad someone steals it.
The next thing he knows a baby is left in his bookstore, and her mother is found washed up on the shore day later. What is he going to do? Does this sweet little smarty pants girl go in to the system? Or does he take the opportunity presented to him, and keep her?
From that day on, his life is different. Slowly, he begins to live again. The small town of Alice rally’s around him, and even his business begins to become steady again.
There is a love interest, but to call this book merely a romance is putting too big of a label. This is the story of A.J.’s life, and what it took for him to learn to appreciate it again.
His daughter Maya grows up to be, in his words, the most fantastic nerd. She is raised in and among books. She wants to become a writer, and enters competitions starting early, and she loves to learn. When she doesn’t know what to do, or how to approach a situation, her Dad gives her book recommendation that may help her figure it all out. When she is stuck writing, he tells her that the best way to get unstuck is to read, learn, explore, but there is one thing that she never truly seems all that interested in learning about, and what she doesn’t want to know is anything about her mother. Why did her mother leave her in a bookstore? It doesn’t matter, and since she had been there, her life and A.J.’s have been better for it.
A novel like this has innumerable quotes that I loved, but here are just a few that really stuck with me.
I greatly enjoyed reading about the world that A.J. Fikry lived in. I fell in love with his little family, and the townspeople that graced his store. His life was not one without great tragedy, but he also had great joy. After reading this book, I am grateful that his story was shared.
Hope some of you decide to pick this one up someday soon.