TITLE: The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry
AUTHOR: Gabrielle Zevin
GENRE: Contemporary, Adult, Literary Fiction
RATING: 5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- I'll start with the characters because they are what really made this book stand out. The story is told from many POVs but most of the characters are really into books. It was really nice to have a different way of relating to characters. I adored the constant quotes and references to other works of literature, and Fikry's mini book reviews at the beginning of each chapter were among my favourite moments. Fikry himself was every bit the cynical, grumpy but strangely loveable bookshop owner I wanted him to be. Maya was the most adorable baby and grew into a likeable, inquisitive child whose influence on Fikry's life was wonderful to watch. The other characters were really wonderful too, each unique with their own back-story.
- The second thing which I adored about this book was Zevin's writing. She certainly has a real knack for it! She wrote in third person and present tense which was a little odd but in the end I loved it! As well as that, I loved the plot-line. There were a fair few plot twists that left me swearing profanities in disbelief, moments that made me laugh out loud, and times that I could hear my heart cracking as I read. What more do you need from a book?
What I Disliked:
- I guess at times Zevin jumped around in time a bit without a whole host of warning. Flashbacks were hard to discern at first and it threw me off ever so slightly. This only really happened in the beginning of the book however, and ended soon after Maya's arrival. It really was a very minor thing in comparison to how much I loved this book!
Did I already mention how much I loved this book? I honestly thought that my last read would be the best this month, but this one really impressed me and I am totally going to look into more of Zevin's work! Her style impressed me a lot, the plot was so gripping that I literally did not move from the sofa until I had read this book from start to finish, and the characters were some of the most unique I've read in a while. If anything, you need to read it just for the hilarious dialogue that comes from Officer Lambiase. Yet there is a tragic feel to a lot of the lives of these characters that genuinely touched me, and it was nice watching them each try to form their own sense of a happy ending.