Several years ago, I received The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin as an e-galley, but I couldn't get it to download to my Kindle. I knew that I was missing something really good, but I figured I would just wait until it was published and read it then. And then, as it tends to do, time passed. Finally, after hearing friend after friend, not to mention lots of reviewers, talk about the beauty of this book, I was able to get my hands on it. And I was not disappointed.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is about a recently widowed bookseller in his late thirties. A.J. Fikry owns the only bookstore on Alice Island, a fictional island in the area of Nantucket. He isn't a particularly lovable character, he's rather prickly in the beginning, but that is a bit understandable. His wife, whom he adored, died very unexpectedly nearly two years before we meet him. Then his prized possession, and future retirement, a rare, early edition of a book by Edgar Allen Poe, is stolen. Life does not seem to be going the way A.J. had hoped it would. Then everything changes when someone leaves something very unexpected in his bookstore for him. The isolation that A.J. has spent so much time crafting for himself suddenly evaporates as he becomes more and more connected to the people of Alice Island.
This book is really just lovely. I adored this book and my only regret is that I waited so long to read it. This would make a wonderful selection for any book club as there is so much to discuss. This is the kind of book you will want to hug, to curl up and hold these characters and their words. I am disappointed that I cannot tell you more without telling too much, so I will just reiterate that you really must read this book. I will leave you with a quote from A.J. Fikry, taken from when he describes a book he has recently discovered and loved:
"Every word the right one and exactly where it should be. That's basically the highest compliment I can give. I'm only sorry it took me so long to read it."