The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books, 9781616204518, December 2014, 288pp.
The Short of It:
A sweet, feel-good story that includes lots of literary references for your bookish self.
The Rest of It:
It took forever for me to pick this one up and to be honest, had my book group not selected it, I probably would not have gotten to it. I thought it was a story about a grumpy old man.
Well, he’s kind of grumpy but not old and it reminded me a lot of the movie Baby Boom but with the roles reversed. A.J. Fikry owns an island bookstore but it’s not doing well and he doesn’t really do much to help that. His salty personality keeps people at bay, even though he is a long-time island resident and pretty well-known by the locals. But… his wife passed away not too long ago so his less-than-lovely personality is understandable.
Things change quickly when a young mother decides to leave her baby in his shop with only a letter asking that she be taken care of. After calling the appropriate authorities and discussing what will happen to the child, A.J. decides to foster her and then adopt her. This presents challenges for him but in the end, changes him forever.
As a book lover, it’s hard not to enjoy the literary references. The story is at times a little sappy and yes, there’s a little bit of romance tossed in but it’s one of those books that you just read and enjoy and that’s it. I loved the characters and setting. As a book club book, there was hardly anything to discuss but I could see it being made into a movie and having it star Tom Hanks or somebody like him.
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