Contemporary · General Fiction · Review

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

Okay, can I just go live above Island Books now? I mean when Gabrielle Zevin wrote The Storied Life of A.J. Fiery, I think she was basically writing my dream into reality.

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.

The Good

  • Setting: I mean, come on, it’s set around a bookstore on a tiny island off of Massachusetts. What more could you ask for?!
  • Really great characters, each with their own little eccentricities and personalities. Lambiase was definitely my favorite – loved the sections on his police force book club!
  • One of those stories where it leaves you feeling very peaceful with a smile on your face.
  • The plot was simple and focused more on character development and relationships, which were portrayed very realistically.
  • Great read for a book club!

Cristina Re

The Bad

  • The plot twist or big reveal wasn’t that surprising and I had already figured it out about 100 pages before.
  • The tension between some of the characters felt a little cliché at times.
  • Pacing seemed to be a bit too much, leaving the relationship between A.J. and Amelia to progress a little fast without much to back it up.

If you’re looking for a cute, cozy book to warm up with by the fire this fall and winter – this is the one you should pick up! I mean, this is a book written for booknerds. Need I say more?

Final Verdict: 4/5 stars


Have you read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry yet? What did you think about it?

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

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