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Gabrielle Zevin – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Posted in Book reviews, and Fiction

There are three main kinds of writers: these, who try to escape grey reality of everyday; these, who want to write their own book when time is right; and finally these, who can’t imagine better way to get paid than by working in/owning a bookstore. I guess I could sign up for all abovementioned options. What is interesting though, no matter how many movies and Instagram pictures portraying lovely atmosphere in a book shop are out there (Black Books fans, anyone??), I’m unable to recall if I ever read a book set up in a book shop. In any case, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was my second read of this year and I loved almost every page of it. By the way, can we also mention that amazing cover including the red, wooden entrance door? I wish I could walk in.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry follows life of bookstore owner A.J. Fikry – a grumpy, shy widower, a book lover with incredibly complicated taste in books and few people who by various coincidences enter his lonely life. It manages to brilliantly portray the complexity of human nature, our natural desire for company and feeling of belonging. It’s about loss, discoveries and hope. While the book itself doesn’t necessarily catch readers’ attention with groundbreaking plot twists and unbelievable character development, it’s very well enough without both. Some may say it’s predictable and kind of stereotypical story, which may be truth, but the reason why I liked it so much was novel’s characters. Gabrielle created a small world, mostly behind the door of A.J.’s bookstore Island Books, in which most of us want to believe. The world with only good hearted cops, with Harry Potter like events, full of unconditional love in various acts, where even when things are not exactly how we expect them to be, they are still moving forward towards mostly promising end.

I’m not a fan of romance, most of the time I consider additional stories of this kind annoying and unnecessary, but I survived the one in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry without visible injuries. Probably because love in this story line has so many variations. It’s about family, friends and love for books and reading.

Apart from many book discussions and recommendations, there are also plenty of truly bookish references and quotes. My favorite is this variation of well-known:

You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?

However, let’s stop pretending that answer to such question is quite straightforward and simple!

Why to read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry? For its lovely topic, bookish talks, moving events and characters you wish you know.

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