I bought a copy of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin because Lindsey from ReederReads suggested it to me. Lindsey just gets me when it comes to books (and many other aspects of life). She is the person I trust most when it comes to book recommendations and her latest one was a home-run!
A.J. Fikry lost everything, his wife, sales at the bookstore he and his wife owned, and his rare collection of Poe’s poems *which was stolen from his house. He is alone, isolated, and drinks to have visions of his dead wife and then black out. Just when he’s about to sink lower than he ever has before, this bitter bookstore owner gets a package. A package that will change the life he lived and the life he thought he’d have. I can’t say much more about this book (plot-wise) because I don’t want to ruin your experience with it.
What I will say is that this novel moved me to tears on a number of occasions. Everything that I have ever felt about books is painted on these pages. Subtle truths about the human condition, loneliness, and love and the way they are intertwined with the characters is magical.
“At first, he thinks this is happiness, but then he determines it’s love. Fucking love, he thinks. What a bother. It’s completely gotten in the way of his plan to drink himself to death, to drive his business to ruin.” (76)
The writing is flawless and had I had the time to read it in one sitting I would have. As I got deeper into A.J. Fikry’s story I decided that I will no longer purchase books online. I will go to the beautiful bookstores located in the city. I would love to have the kind of relationship with a bookstore owner where I walk in and he or she says “Have I got the book for you!” (258). Better yet, maybe I’d like to be that person, that bookstore owner who knows her customers so well that she can suggest the perfect book for every nerd that enters their store.
Who knows…maybe I will be…