The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

A Novel

Zevin, Gabrielle

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life. The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books, the only bookstore on Alice Island, has already lost his wife. Now, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children's section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: "I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her." A search for Maya's mother, A. J.'s rare book, and good childcare advice ensues, but it doesn't take long for the locals to notice the transformation of both bookstore and owner, something of particular interest to the lovely yet eccentric Knightley Press sales rep, Amelia Loman, who makes the arduous journey to Alice Island thrice each year to pitch her books to the cranky owner.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 1616203218
Characteristics: 260 pages ;,22 cm


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Dec 04, 2014
  • theresa_34 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book was ok. It was a quick read, but I didn't really get the point of the book... I would have preferred the author dig into the impact/effects of life events, but she didn't and that left me wanting.

Nov 28, 2014
  • patcumming rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is a book for book lovers. It is a sweet, gentle and quick read. The characters are endearing and despite it's sad moments, it leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction. Although it seems a simple story at first glance, it has a lot to say about reading and connection and love.

Nov 21, 2014
  • misswindsor rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was a comfort read for me. I love reading books about books and I loved A.J. Fikry.

Oct 30, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_JanetL rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A good shaggy-dog story. I liked this book so well after reading a copy from the library that I went out and bought it for my husband for his birthday. He also really liked it.

Oct 29, 2014
  • StephFurlan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book! It’s one of the few books I’d re-read over and over again. Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a great pick for anyone who understands how the publishing world works or obsessed with books and has a love of reading.

Complete Review: http://feistylittlewoman.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/review-the-storied-life-of-a-j-fikry/

Oct 28, 2014
  • 21221018293347 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I did not like Mr. Fikry at first - I found him a most unlikeable character and put the book down. But I wanted to find out about the baby left in his bookstore and picked the book back up. I really enjoyed the story after all. There is a litany of title references through out the book, some of which I haven't read. The characters are memorable, believable, down to earth and very likeable after all. All in all, the story was a grand journey. I liked Mr. Fikry in the end.

Oct 25, 2014
  • lasmith55 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this book - an endearing story although the ending went by so fast that I can't quite believe in it.
I am sure it will be made into a film and it be included on many book club lists.

Sep 21, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

It was definitely cute, and a very sweet story but I believe the pace of it is what kept me from giving it a full 4 + stars. It went way too fast, and some plot points were neatly tied up too well or just brushed over. But overall- likable story, characters, and writing. A quick read for book-lovers!

Sep 16, 2014
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

There's art we find excellent because it so accurately captures the experience of life--we may not enjoy it since life isn't always enjoyable, but we know it is true and real. Then there's art we find excellent because we enjoy connecting with it and find emotional resonance in it, even if it's not always entirely accurate; real life isn't always scripted perfectly, after all, with people saying just the right things at just the right times and events happening in just the right order to make a satisfying story.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry falls into this second category. It all fits together too neatly (even the mishaps and tragedies), the characters grow and change a bit too perfectly (even their flaws and mistakes) to be fully believable as actual, but it still speaks to truths we identify with and find moving. The book conveys a story, not life, yet reading that story gives readers insight into and encourages them to reflect on their own lives. It's on the light side, not at all lacking in cynical humor and crotchety fun, yet has depth and passion as well. I enjoyed it immensely. I connected with it.

Aug 29, 2014
  • lizhelboe rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A little story about a quirky bookstore owner in a small town and the books that he loves. A series of events sends AJ Fikry's life into turmoil. The story follows him as he deals with the unexpected and how it completely changes his trajectory through life.

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Sep 16, 2014
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

How to account for its presence [on this list of favorites] when I know it is only average? The answer is this: Your dad relates to the characters. It has meaning to me. And the longer I do this (bookselling, yes, of course, but also living if that isn't too awfully sentimental), the more I believe that this is what the point of it all is. To connect, my dear little nerd. Only connect.

Sep 16, 2014
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It is the secret fear that we are unlovable that isolates us, but it is only because we are isolated that we think we are unlovable. Someday, you do not know when, you will be driving down a road. And someday, you do not know when, he, or indeed she, will be there. You will be loved because for the first time in your life, you will truly not be alone. You will have chosen not to be alone.

Sep 16, 2014
  • JCLChrisK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It's Amy's favorite. (She seems so sweet on the surface, no?) Amy and I do not always have the exact same taste in things, but this I like.

When she told me it was her favorite, it suggested to me strange and wonderful things about her character that I had not guessed, dark places that I might like to visit.

People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?

Apr 29, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The first way Maya approaches a book is to smell it. She strips the book of its jacket, then holds it up to her face and wraps the boards around her ears.

Apr 29, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Her [Amelia's] talents also include multitasking, selecting the right wine at dinner (and the coordinating skill, tending friends who've had too much to drink), houseplants, strays, and other lost causes."

Apr 20, 2014
  • stephaniedchase rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“Infinite Jest is an endurance contest. You manage to get through it and you have no choice but to say you like it. Otherwise, you have to deal with the fact that you just wasted weeks of your life,” A.J. had countered.


Add a Summary

Set on Alice Island of the coast of Rhode Island, this is the story of a widowed bookseller, A J Fikry, who finds a toddler in his store when he returns from a run. She is Maya, and the note from her mother says that Maya is smart, verbal, and should grow up around books. Loved the setting, the unusual characters, the numerous book recommendations (esp. YA), and the belief in love overcoming all obstacles. The ending is sad, but with a funny twist. If you liked Mr. Penumbra's 24 hr. Bookstore, you'll like this.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
Silas Marner
Their Eyes Were Watching God
I Capture the Castle
The Beauties- Checkov
The Doll's HOuse-K. Mansfield
A Perfect Day for Bananfish-J.d. Salinger
Brownies or Drinking COffee Elsewhere ZZ Packer
In the Cemetary Where AL Jolson Is Buried A. Hempel
Fat R. Carver
Indian Camp e. Hemingway
Secret Life of Octavian Nothing

Chief's Choice Book Club:
Jeffrey Deaver


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app07 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52