June 20, 2016

Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. 

I knew I was going to like this book when on the second page, one of the characters rejects her date when he offers Principles of Accounting II as the book that had the greatest influence on him.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is the best kind of book – for and about booklovers. Each chapter is preceded by the main character’s wry analysis of different short stories – from Roald Dahl to F. Scott Fitzgerald, with some accompanying advice. Not until towards the latter half does the reader understand to whom these notes are directed and the bittersweet reason why. Books and stories are woven in the narrative – they are used as symbolic devices and plot twists. A bookstore owner’s life becomes unexpectedly complicated when his most valuable rare book goes missing. In its place he finds love, some intrigue and suspense, but most of all – there are books, books, books!

“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?’”

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