Not only did I not drop The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, I actually quite enjoyed it

Genre: book catalogue in a form of fiction. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.99. ⭐️Stars from me: 4.

What the book is about

It’s about a book store owner who lost his wife and then lost one valuable item from his store, but he has found something else instead. It’s also about a few other people in his life.

What I liked about the story

Reading list

Claudia McGill found the list of books mentioned in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Thank you for the link Claudia! Just look at this list! A whole library has fit into the book!

When a new character was introduced

I won’t say who it was so as not to spoil it for you, but I found it very unexpected and almost surreal. That’s when I resolved to keep reading the book. I also found the character very charming.

The actual story

It’s pleasant, kind and peaceful but it doesn’t get overly simplistic. It is light, but not silly.

Of course, people had felt sorry for him then, but they had felt too sorry for him.

They held their breath as they walked past the store, like it was a cemetery.

…a theft is an acceptable social loss while a death is an isolating one.

It’s very bookish

It’s a book about books, and about people who live books and breathe books. It feels like the book bloggers and reviewers are actually the target audience of the story.

They had only ever discussed books but what, in this life, is more personal than books?

Infinite Jest is an endurance contest. You manage to get through it and you have no choice but to say you like it.

Who are these people who think a book comes with a guarantee that they will like it?

The protagonist is a long distance runner

Just like yours truly. 😊 This detail doesn’t get too much focus but it’s always nice to relate to something in a book, isn’t it?

There are many challenges to long-distance running, but one of the greatest is the question of where to put one’s house keys.

What I found strange about the book

The writing

It feels very distant, as if someone is reciting contents of newspaper clippings. It is especially noticeable when something dramatic or tragic happens.

The shifting point of view

There is no stable point of view. Sometimes you get a bit of a story from one character, then you get another story from someone else. It’s always unpredictable and feels quite chaotic.

Redundant subplots and characters

There are a few characters who seem to be survivors from the first draft. It looks like their roles had got redundant but by the time it became obvious, they turned into close friends and family members, and so it was unethical to get rid of them for the sake of a more structured plot.

Would I recommend this book?

Yes, definitely. If you are looking for a quick and light read that will lead you to more books, you will likely enjoy this book.

13 thoughts on “Not only did I not drop The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, I actually quite enjoyed it

  1. This is interesting. I thought a lot of the same things you did about the book and I couldn’t get to the finish, yet your choice was different and you went on to finish and enjoy. I think this is a great illustration of how each individual finds in a book his or her own world. I’m happy you persevered. It sounds like a good outcome!

    1. It’s definitely about timing. I read it to have some rest from more complicated books. I can see how this book can be disappointing, but it was so easy to read, and there were all these interesting books popping up here and there. I didn’t notice how I reached the end actually. It just happened 🙂 Thanks for the link one more time!

  2. I’m glad you found some redeeming qualities as you continued. I enjoyed it as a quietly touching read. And I appreciate your insight as to how book lovers might find it a bit of a treat, and find new reads through it.

    1. Hi Carol 🙂 Well, there wasn’t really anything that bad with the book to begin with. I just started reading it after a few not very good chick lit books, and when I saw yet another young woman talking to a guy who doesn’t want to listen to her, it felt too familiar, and I started having premonitions. But the book developed absolutely differently after that, so I’m very happy I picked it up.

    1. Yes, it seems like you enjoyed the book more than I did. And I enjoyed your review a lot! It’s very profound, and I can see how much you loved the book. I’m very happy for you 🙂 Thanks for the link!

  3. I liked this more than I thought too when I read it! I agree with the whole distance with the narration though but for some reason the whole story just made me feel happier. Kind of like a warm cup of tea.

  4. I read this book last year and I just can say it was beautiful. Heartwarming tbh.

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