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

fikryThis has gotten quite a bit of buzz-I think because people who like to read love to read books that name-drop a lot of other books and authors.  I know Zevin as a YA author (of books I have liked) I can see that she really writes a broad variety of types of stories.  This is one of those stories that I sometimes think I don’t like, simply because I like to get really attached to my characters and this is one of those that tells a full life story and about what goes on after the character’s life.  On the one hand, it shows the character’s legacy, impact, and place in the bigger world. On the other hand, it makes me sad to see them here and gone, as well as creates a certain detachment.  All that said, I really did enjoy this a lot.
A.J. Fikry lives on an island (which I felt was modeled after Martha’s Vineyard) and runs a bookshop. He’s a crank, but mostly because he’s a sad widower and wants to just drink himself to death.  All he really has left besides his bookshop is his incredibly rare and valuable edition of Tamerlane. Then Tamerlane is stolen. And a baby shows up in his bookshop with a note asking him to take care of the baby. To everyone’s surprise A.J. takes in the baby, adopts her, and is a loving dad and big part of the community.  The story covers years and years, so time flies by quite quickly sometime. It’s not just about A.J. becoming a dad, but also other people in the town (notably, the wonderful police officer), and his blossoming relationship with a publisher saleswoman.  Interspersed throughout chapters are A.J.’s descriptions of books, which does make you wonder if he’s writing them because he or someone else has died.
This was warm and sweet, with some untangling of mysteries, which was very satisfying.

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