This Chick Read: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I read this book sitting on the couch, occasionally laughing out loud and getting strange looks from my husband, as well as grabbing a Kleenex and sniffling, trying to hide my tears.  I didn’t fool anyone, including myself.  I was totally into the characters and storyline, and wasn’t going to put this book down until I was done.  When I was, I looked up stating, “I love this book”, and getting a No-Shit look from my husband, and a brief hug because I needed one.  This book resonated and I know that as I go to sleep tonight I will still be thinking about the end.

The following synopsis is from  For a more in depth synopsis, please go to the author’s website

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over–and see everything anew.  

A.J. Fikry had once found happiness, but tragedy hit and he has been floundering since.  When the book starts, he is only in his mid 30’s and he is already a cranky old man.  A.J’s livelihood as a bookstore owner means there are a lot of literary references. I found it interesting to note, that as time went on and he became happier, found love and fatherhood gratifying, his choices in fiction changed, and his opening to each chapter became softer and less tutorial like.  Gabrielle Zevin did a fantastic job of writing from his perspective, inserting a caustic humor that I really came to appreciate. There was a wonderful contrast of characters. A.J.’s crankiness was balanced by Maya’s youthful intelligence and Amy’s light hearted charm.  The dialog was so smartly written, and the depth of emotion had a light touch that kept the story from becoming too deep, even though the subject matter did, in fact, become serious.

This book was recommended to me after I read and reviewed The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (click here for my review). I had been pretty effusive in my praise, and a reader asked me to read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, because they’d had that same reaction. I want to thank that reader, I had immediately signed up and waited in line for it on my Overdrive account. It is still early in the year, but I know The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will be among my top 20 books I’ve read in 2016.


Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved.

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9 thoughts on “This Chick Read: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

  1. I love the sound of this! I really enjoyed The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, so it sounds as though I’ll like this one too – adding it to my ever-growing list of books to buy…


    1. These two are both among my favorites that I’ve read so far this year. If you’re in the US and have a library card you should get the Overdrive app. If you have an reader, iPad, iPhone or android, it lets you check out books from the library. That’s how I can afford to read so much! Otherwise I would be broke. Of course it’s made my TBR list huge! Thanks for commenting! I love discussions about books.


  2. Pingback: This Chick Read: The Moment of Everything by Shelly King – A Chick Who Reads

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