Review of “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin

When I began this book, I was wondering why it had gotten so many endorsements, until all of the sudden I got to a certain plot development and my heart was plopped into my lap and wrapped up in a blanket. Weirdest analogy ever? Read the book, and see if it doesn’t happen to you!


A.J. Fikry, 39, is a widower (his wife died in a car accident almost 2 years earlier) and owner of Island Books, the only bookstore on Alice Island in Massachusetts. He is bitter, depressed, crabby, and intent on drinking himself to death, when unexpectedly, love comes into his life from several different directions.

Discussion: This book is bound to appeal to book lovers, but there is much more within that will appeal to those who enjoy subtle humor, unexpected plot twists and clever dialogue.

Some bits I loved:

The reading choices of the women’s book club group:

“In April, The Paris Wife. In June, A Reliable Wife. In August, American Wife. In September, The Time Traveler’s Wife. In December, he runs out of decent books with wife in the title. They read Bel Canto.”

The conversation between two of the supporting characters who start dating:

“‘You really are one heck of a pretty woman,’ [he] says.

…’Pretty is not a good reason to court someone, you know…’

‘This from the woman who doesn’t read the books with the ugly covers.’

‘Well, I’m just warning you. I could be a bad book with a good jacket.’

…’Nah, I’ve seen you on the shelf for years. I’ve read the synopsis and the quotes on the back. … it’s enough to make me want to read on….”

And A.J., who you will grow to love, on reading and books:

“We read and we are not alone. … My life is in these books… Read these and know my heart. We are not quite novels. … We are not quite short stories. … In the end, we are collected works.”

Evaluation: I loved this story. How could any book lover not? Get this book, a box of kleenex, and settle in for a charming, heart-warming story that will stay with you long after the last page (and the last wadded up kleenex).

Rating: 4/5

Note: This is not a “chick-lit” book as some may think. My husband, although he had to be pushed through the beginning, ended up loving it as well, and he too had to avail himself of the kleenex box! (But of course, he attributed his sniffles to a cold….)

Published by Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing, 2014


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12 Responses to Review of “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin

  1. Athira says:

    Men and their cold! LOL! Mine does the same.

    I love the sound of this one. Sounds like the Penumbra book, but much better. And when there are books mentioned within, it feels like an insider secret. Will have to check it out.

  2. whatsheread says:

    I thought this was such a wonderful book. There is something about its simplicity which I find very touching and comforting.

  3. trish422 says:

    Definitely a book for book lovers; it’s always such a treat to read a book that highlights books in some way.

  4. Vasilly says:

    The book sounds lovely. Now I want to read it. Thanks for sharing the quotes with us.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    Blah blah blah. I looked at nothing but your rating! I’ll come back after I’ve read it. Dry-eyed. 🙂

  6. I was curious about this one and you are the second extreeeemely positive review I’ve read. Definitely reading this soon!

  7. Rachel says:

    I heard the author of this book being interviewed on NPR and it piqued my interest. Now after your review, I must read it. Thanks!

  8. Kailana says:

    Gr. I am really going to want this before today is through. 3 positive reviews all ready!

  9. I’m giggling because Alice of Reading Rambo once posted a review of a bookish romance (or something) and she said that booklovers read books like this whose message is Aren’t book people the best people? and respond by saying YES, YES THEY ARE, YOU ARE CORRECT, FIVE STARS. 😀

    I believe you that it isn’t just for booklovers! But it sounds excellent for booklovers. I love the books with “Wife” in the title. He left out The Kitchen God’s Wife! And The Zookeeper’s Wife, wasn’t there a book called that?

  10. Heather says:

    Haha to Jenny’s comment, so funny and so true. But this book was SO GOOD!!! I loved it.

  11. aartichapati says:

    This one did not really appeal to me when I heard about it but it sounds like I should give it a go. With Kleenex in hand 🙂

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