RICHARD reads reviews: STORIED LIFE OF A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

Good romantic reads are hard to find. A.J. Fikry is a find.

Here’s a book which will warm your heart, nod your head with approval, shake it with disapproval and more…

Read it and enjoy.

 

A local bookstore as the setting of a romantic story. Nahhh!!

Read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and your ‘nahh’ will become a ‘yahh’ with exuberance.

A.J. Fikry is a widower, a bookstore owner, living an increasingly depressing life. His wife, Nic, died in a car accident leaving him to live a life that now has him thinking of another car accident but with him as the victim.

Then a precocious two-year-old is abandoned in his shop. Life changes completely.

Richard’s comments:
Gabrielle Zevin has published other books. This one hits the target as acknowledged by its bestseller status on the New York Times list. Grudgingly admitted it should be so, though I am not a big proponent of best seller lists. Word of mouth, friend’s opinions, family member’s views are far more reliable and better recommendations of what you will likely enjoy reading.

But take it from me. This book will win you over. Zevin’s story grows on you, slowly, like moss creeping up the side of a tree, each inch drawing you in further, engaging you more. When the abandoned child, Maya, comes into the story, you’re overgrown and hooked.

The story meanders through a number of settings: a New England island town, a small bookstore struggling to achieve profitability, and a cast of characters who engage and warm your heart.

Maya, of course. A precocious youngster who is abandoned by her mother in the bookstore. You learn why much later in the story. Wise from childhood, she becomes the love and the life of AJ but wins over everyone who meets her.

Amelia, the publisher’s agent offended by AJ, the bookstore owner proprietor in their first meeting. The road from this initial meeting has some bumps along the way.

Chief of police Lambiase, Zevin’s Sancho Panza, the Man of La Mancha, Don Quixote’s sidekick, is the needed foil to prick our protagonist into thinking more deeply and making life-changing considerations. A lovable lug who glues many issues into a warm mass.

Izzy, sister-in-law, who prods and jabs at her brother in law, AJ, not because she hates him, but because she is suffering in her own life, in her loveless marriage, and with the loss of her sister, Nic.

A.J. is the lead among our cast of characters, a role he plays with oblivion as his world has crumbled totally. His the flotsam on destiny’s waves with no purpose in living. Enter Maya. The story takes flight again rising to unexpected heights of heartwarming feelings.

The book reads easily and quickly. The story engages warmly and thoroughly, tipping from cheers to jeers and back. Satisfyingly, the cheers trump the jeers. You will do both as you turn the pages of this book.

Bottom line
A thoroughly enjoyable book, not deep and profound, but human and warming. Reading it will be a pleasurable experience.

4 stars

 

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