Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I have a fairly established relationship with Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. She doesn't know it, but I've read two of her books in previous Dewey Readathons, and I've enjoyed both. In fact, she's one of those authors whose work I fully intend to devour any time she releases something new.

So imagine my surprise when EVERYONE started chatting about The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and I didn't even realize she had a new book out. Egg on my face. Bad fan here!  Once I realized my silliness, I snapped up a copy of this little book and devoured it for the #24in48 readathon. Like so many others, I absolutely adored it, and it's definitely my favorite of her work so far. You can see reviews of her novels, Elsewhere and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac in past blog posts. 

But back to A.J. Fikry. He's awfully unpleasant for a young'ish man. But he has an excuse: his wife has passed away. He's left to run their bookstore on a secluded island well-suited to tourists but not so wonderfully suited to a widower with anger issues. Until the day someone steals a very valuable book, and THEN someone leaves a "special package" in the bookstore, and everyone's lives change. Once A.J. gets his head out of his patoot and notices a quirky publishing rep (who he's known for years, technically), things change some more, the trifecta of BIG EVENTS is in place. And it was so so fantastic.

This is definitely a book for book lovers as the characters are constantly talking books and surrounded by them. One of Fikry's best friends, a local police chief, even starts a book club! Now I want our local police chief to start a book club, though I don't think he's sold on the idea. 

The characterization was one of my favorite parts of this story. Everyone grows in their relationships with each other and their interactions have the bookstore at their center. Even though it's quite short, each character stood out vividly and had expertly developed personalities...their flaws and their charms. And while I don't want to give away the end, I got quite the "epic" feel from this book. Maybe sprawling is a better term. It covered a lot of ground for something like 250 pages. 

Overall, damn fun. Damn fine. And it made me do the UGLY CRY! Those well-developed characters get me every time. This little gem is not to be missed. 

Pub. Date: April 2014
Publisher: Workman
Format: E-book
ISBN: 9781616203214
Source: Bought!

33 comments:

  1. Each time I see a new review of this I wan to read it more! Sounds like it might be a good one to push on my book club ;)

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    1. Definitely! It's a fun, lightish read, too, so the next time you need one of those.

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  2. oh yeah, it gave me the ugly cries too! So glad you loved it, it is definitely one of the best things I've picked up so far this year.

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    1. Yay for partners in ugly crying! lol

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  3. Oh, ugly cries are the worst! Books about books. Love, love, love.

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    1. Yes ma'am! I sucked it down like candy. So fun. So touching.

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  4. Oh my gosh this sounds so charming! I've seen a lot of gushing about this book on Twitter, and I simply must read it. Nice review!

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    1. It is totally charming! I hope you love it, too!

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  5. I am so glad I read this and loved it! I needed it in the midst of reading slumps!

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    1. It is a wooooonderful slump buster, isn't it??

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  6. I cannot wait to read this book! I should just start saving up these reviews I've been reading and link them to my review! That seemed to work well ;)

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    1. Haha! Great idea! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It came along at just the right time for me.

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  7. Have out the audio in hold at our abysmal library, as the hardcover had 9,000 holds.mlooking forward to discovering this book, as everyone loves it. Which doesn't always bode we'll for me, Bellezza Party of One. ;)

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    1. Oh no! I bet the audio will be excellent. "Books Everyone Loves" don't always work for me either, but I was certainly pleasantly surprised by this one.

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  8. I enjoyed this book a lot but didn't love, love, love it. I believe I called it "kind of cutesy" in my review. But we all need a little bit of that now and again, don't we? I really liked your review though and don't mean to be so hard on the book - I gobbled it up too and you give praise that's well-deserved ~Kelly, readlately

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    1. It is kind of cutesy. I can totally agree with that. However, I was in a wicked slump when I read it, so light, with well-developed characters who involved me emotionally was the magic mix to deslump. Totally gobble-worthy. :)

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  9. Such good things about this book all over the blogosphere. It sounds a little cutesy (not in a bad way!), and sometimes that's exactly what a person wants.

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    1. Totally cutesy. Maybe charming? It was a winner for killing off a slump and making me cry. Emotionally-involving books are the motherload for me.

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  10. The peer pressure is getting to me... I know I'm going to cave and get a copy of this soon!

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    1. Same here...one more review will push moe over the edge ;) Not that it takes much pushing...

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    2. Whahahahaha <--my evil enabler laugh

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    3. Andi, you were right, as usual. It was positively lovely. Thank you for linking up with The Fellowship! :)

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  11. I was on Twitter when Scott Brick (audiobook narrator) mentioned that it made him sob. Must really be an emotional read! I'e got it on my stacks, as of tonight, and Im really, really excited about it.

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    1. I'VE got it on my stacks, that is. And I'm really excited. Bedtime, I think.

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    2. It is VERY emotional. I hope you love it, Nancyroo!

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  12. This sounds so good! Not sure I want the ugly cry, but it sounds worth it.

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  13. I just keep seeing such rave reviews with this one. I must buy it.

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  14. I LOVED this one too and I also experienced the ugly cry. ;) Have you read Zevin's All These Things I've Done? It's the first in a trilogy about chocolate being illegal ... I've read the first two, the third just came out, the series is fantastic. Everything she does is wonderful.

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  15. I love book lover books! :) :) :) I've never read Zevin, but now I feel like I MUST!

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  16. Sounds like a charming read!

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  17. I can't wait to read this! I bought it for my mom for part of her Mother's Day gift basket and I am so tempted to read it before I wrap everything up and ship it off to Oregon. Maybe I should be more patient and wait until she's finished. I'm sure she'll be happy to loan it to me, right?

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  18. Maybe I should wrap a box of Kleenex to go along with it... ;)

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  19. Saw your post on Words for Worms today. I loved this book as well - one of my favorite of the year. AJ is so snarky, but delightful at the same time - how is that possible?? I also thought she crammed an amazing amount into 250 pages...and it didn't feel crammed. I was sad when the book ended! Also - I would love to read a book blog written by fictional AJ :)

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