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

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin review
"Who the hell are you?" A.J. asks the baby.
For no apparent reason, she stops crying and smiles at him. "Maya," she answers.
That was easy, A.J. thinks. "How old are you?" he asks.
Maya holds up two fingers.
"You're two?"
Maya smiles again and holds up her arms to him."
A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and a prized rare first edition has been stolen.
But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life - and Maya's - is changed forever.

This book took me quite a while to get in to. To start with I found the fact that it's written in the third person a little distracting but I guess that's because it's a style that isn't widely used in most of the books I read. I soon eased into it though and began to enjoy the different style. One feature of this book I really enjoyed was A.J's summary of a book at the start of each chapter. The idea is he's creating sort of a book of reviews for Maya when she's older, it was a really nice touch.

The novel is set on a very small island in the Massachusetts region which allows for a wealth of characters to come to life in the novel. Of course though, the protagonist, A.J himself, was my favourite character. I don't want to give too much away but he starts as a fairly moody, unlovable character but as the novel progresses and more of A.J's story unfolds and develops you grow very attached to him. A.J's love of books, words and language is one I can admire which makes the ending to this novel a little sad.

This novel is 100% worth sticking with if like me you find your struggling with it at the start. It's a fairly simple, smooth flowing novel devoid of tricks and twists but that is part of its charm and for these reasons it would lend itself perfectly to a summer read.

Rating: ★★

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