The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin A.J. owns Island Books, the only bookstore on remote Alice Island. Since his wife passed away he has just been making do. A.J. is grumpy with his few customers and just barely tolerates his lone employee. He lives above the bookstore, existing on (bad) frozen dinners, his favorite books and, imaginary conversations with his departed wife. One morning after a, not too unusual bender, A.J. wakes up to find that his most prized possession, a rare edition of a Poe book, has disappeared. Strangely enough, when one thing gets taken away life often gives you something unexpected to take it’s place and that is exactly what happens to A.J. The unexpected gift came in the form of a little girl name Maya, abandoned in his bookstore. Maya quickly works her way into A.J.’s heart and life and it seems that making room for Maya, by default, made room for a lot of other people as well.

Many books can be called “heartwarming” but this is one that exemplifies that description. It had a little heartbreak, a little mystery, a lot of humor, a lovely romance and many, many insights about books. A.J. is very particular about the types of books he reads and everything that happens to him is somehow referenced back to books he has enjoyed. When, out of desperation, he reads a book outside of his “preferred reading” box he discovers that with books, as in life, sometimes one has to step outside the comfort zone.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves books, to anyone who has ever worked with books, to anyone who has ever lost track of time in a bookstore or to anyone who has ever identified with a character in a book. I would especially recommend it to someone who believes in second chances and enjoys a good “life” story.