The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Summary (from Goodreads): On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
Review: How could I not like this book? It's about a man who owns an independent bookstore, a woman named Amelia, and a girl who grows up loving books; if the bookstore had also had a bakery, it would have been the perfect book! A.J Fikry is a snarky bookstore owner (he'd be curmudgeonly if he was older), who is drawn out of his life of grumpy solitude by a quirky and charming book sales rep and a surprising little girl. It purports to be about literature and books (and I'm sure I missed quite a few literary references since I haven't read all the books he discusses), but it is really about love and families. My biggest complaint is that I wanted MORE! Maya grew up too fast and the end came about too suddenly. A delightful summer read.
Rating: 4.5 stars