Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Time taken to read: 3 days
Goodreads synopsis: A. 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.
This is another one of those books that my dad has told me about multiple times, each time thinking he’s introducing it to me for the first time. Well, finally he just went and picked it up from the library and brought it to me. I wasn’t really sure how much I was going to like it at first. I felt like it was sort of improbable that this grumpy, poor, single man was going to take in a baby. And I still feel that way a little bit, but people are full of surprises, and either way, I eventually forgave the author for this, because the story was so sweet. I wish someone would drop a baby girl on my doorstep and I could teach her to be a little book nerd like me.
Anyway, it made me sad/angry when A.J. says he hates YA books. He is the literary snob type that I hate in real life, but I liked him and the other characters well enough. Daniel Parish was obviously garbage, and I didn’t like Ismay a whole lot, but Lambiase is great and Maya is an angel. I don’t know how I feel about Amelia. She wasn’t completely brought to life for me, and I had trouble picturing her with A.J., since, for some reason, in my mind he was a lot older. (I kept picturing Jay from Modern Family.) She kind of seemed to be just a collection of quirks, like an older version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
I’m still not really sure if I like Maya’s short story. The writing is mechanical, and I know that’s the point, but I’m not completely sold. I like the idea, but I think it could have been executed a little better. I feel like if that was going to work, there needed to be less detail. Or different details. But that’s just an idea. I would need to think about it more. In any case, if you are a fan of books and stories, this is a good one, however possibly improbable and pretentious. However, if you suffer from derealization like I do, be prepared to suddenly feel like you are in a book, or suddenly be upset that you are not in a book and that your life isn’t interesting enough to be a book. This type of narration will do that to you. But I digress.