The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry...Review

About the book:
A.J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession--a rare edition of Poe poems--has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew. Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books--an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

My reviewing is a bit behind as this was the She Reads April selection.  Better late than never and A.J. Fikry was worth the wait.

I'm still puzzling over what to write and how to review this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I literally read it in a day.  Even with the present tense narrative which I absolutely abhor, I enjoyed the story.  But why?  A.J. isn't really all that likeable although he grows on you.  He sells books and has definite ideas in mind of what books are good and what books aren't.  He's prickly and a bit cantankerous.

A.J. is a bookseller; a man whose life revolves around the written word.  His thoughts on different short stories begin each chapter and his monologues on what genres he likes and doesn't like is brilliant.

When a little surprise comes into his life that causes him to reflect on love and hope and family, he predictably begins to change, and he finds a joy to his life that had been missing.  There were some twists that I didn't see coming, and there were thoughts spoken that caused me to reflect. This is a reader's novel and one that will stay with you even after you've turned the last page.

Thanks to She Reads for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Gabrielle Zevin here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Amazon released a film version of this novel in 2022 and it is a fantastic adaption.

Read 7/14

* * * * *
5/5 Stars


  1. My sister loved this book. I need to get her copy!!

  2. I liked this one too. I was a little discouraged in a couple of the characters. But, the literary references were really nice. It makes me want to be a bookseller.

  3. Glad you enjoyed this one! I typically hate present tense but it didn't bother me with this one. Though the f-bombs do make me hesitant to pass it on to some of my more conservative family members.

  4. I've got this on my list to read. I don't like the F or any kind of potty words. I don't think it's necessary at all.

  5. Great review! This really sounds like a book I would enjoy. A cranky bookseller? Why so cranky when you have my dream job? I agree with Vicki, a F-bomb is never necessary - I hate when books and people use them!


  6. I loved this too :)

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  7. I've got this one on my TBR and I'm really looking forward to it!


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