Sunday, July 3, 2016

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

I began reading The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin with rather high hopes.  Almost 4000 reviews on Amazon, the overwhelming majority positive.  Also good reviews in Publisher's Weekly, The Washington Post, Library Journal etc.  In describing the book the words charming and heartwarming used over and over and the assurance that book lovers in particular will love this book.

But now having read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, I have to say I was dissappointed. and I think I speak for many book lovers when I say it's not enough to set a novel in a bookstore and have the main character be a bookstore owner.  Nor was I automatically charmed by the plot where A. J Fikry the curmudgeonly widower has his life changed when a two year old is abandoned in his bookstore.  I didn't feel much for the other characters either who bond together as a community to help A. J. raise his adopted daughter on the idealic Alice Island where they all reside.

It's not that I object to happy endings (and actually the book has tragic parts) but A. J. Fikry though a good man seemed more a caricature than a character and all the loose ends get tied up.  Inspiring novels for me have to be somewhat realistic so that I can see answers for my own life.  And maybe my life experience is too different from A. J.'s or anyone else in this novel.  Maybe A. J. Fikry needed to be fleshed out more as a character.  I am in the minority on this though because 80% of the Amazon reviews are four and five stars but the book fell flat for me and so I can't recommend.  Anyway, on to the next book!

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