The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
(Algonquin – August 2014)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Description from Goodreads

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

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-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. 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. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. 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.


Okay, so I’m not really going to review this – I’m just going to gush over it. I was told I HAD to read it by commenters on my Instagram post about Zevin’s latest title Young Jane Youngso I immediately got it from the library. And……….

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO SO SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH and want to give it 10 STARS. I read it in less than half a day. What the hell was I doing in 2013 when this was published??? This is my new absolute favorite book about books – I read a library copy and am now going to be purchasing myself a copy for my “forever” shelf. I love the characters, I love the setting, I love the amazing commentary on books and literature, I love the dry humor, I love the HEART, I just love it all. If you were as lost as I was and missed this book, go get it NOW.

View all of my Goodreads reviews

6 thoughts on “The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

  1. I love the author’s voice so much, too! The best way I can describe this book (I’m three-quarters in) is that it’s a delight 🙂 I can think of several other well-written, poignant books among the ones I’ve read lately, but this one is bubbling with joy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy | The Loud Library Lady

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