Published: April 1, 2014
Number of pages: 272
Genre: contemporary, romance, moral, mystery
Rating: older adults
Verdict: 5 owl hoots out of 5
AJ Fikry is a widower and a bookseller but things don’t turn out right after he lost his wife. Even his books don’t make good company anymore and business at his store isn’t going well. But then AJ discovers a surprising package in his bookstore one night and his whole life changes for the best.
This is the second book of the year that had me tearing up inside. When you’re reading a heartwarming and charming story that touches you so emotionally that you start to cry, you know that you’ve read a good book. And The Storied Life of AJ Fikry is that book.
I recommend this book to everyone. This is a beautiful story about a man living alone on a small island, given a second chance and becoming a better person. AJ Fikry is regarded as an old grump on Alice Island, always keeping to himself and loosing hope in his life. But after inviting someone in and finally letting go of his grief, Fikry manages to find true happiness and love, something that he hasn’t felt for a very long time since his wife passed.
It starts with a sign on the front of Island Bookstore: No man is an island. Every book is a world. And Fikry, the irritable owner is about to understand what that means. We read because we’re alone. We read and find that we’re not alone. There are so many perfect quotes in this story, which are true as to why we read and how books are so important to us.
Every person Fikry meets has a love for reading and it’s that which brings everyone together, from the Knightley Press sales rep to the Chief of police. At first, he pushes these people away but then he starts seeing them in a new light and is given the opportunity to start over again. A change that everyone else on the island notices as Fikry begins to warm up to his neighbors’ making new friends and a lover. A surprise turn of events turns Aj Fikry into a new man, opening his eyes to the world and learning new life lessons. In the end, we’re left with a bittersweet moment where Fikry summarizes his entire life story in a language of books.
This book has everything. A story of a bitter old man handed a second chance in life comes a story of transformation. I honestly think that everything that is told about books and bookstores are true in this story as it affirms our love of reading and how it has melded in our lives. This is a must-read for readers and booksellers, and this is one book that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
“You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, what is your favorite book?”
“A place isn’t a place without a bookstore”
“The most elegant creation in the prose universe is a short story. Master the short story and you’ve mastered the world”
“We are not quite novels. We are not quite short stories. In the end, we are collected works.”
“We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved…I think these really do live on.”