I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction. Sometimes it is just difficult for me to give something new a try and I’ve never really liked that classification, contemporary fiction. I decided to give this contemporary fiction book a try on audiobook after I heard that it was about a bookstore and I am so glad I did. This is the book that I will always remember as the book that made me start reading contemporary fiction.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a contemporary book about a man in his 30’s that just lost his wife and now runs a bookstore business without his wife as a partner. A.J. is incredibly bitter and a miser of a man ever since his wife died. He doesn’t treat his costumers very nicely and doesn’t treat the publicists with much respect that visit his store. He is a book snob and believes that his taste is better than others. His prized possession is a rare book by Edgar Allen Poe. One night he finds an unexpected gift left in his store. This mysterious package changes A.J.’s life and changes him as a man.
I loved this book so much. I listened to this on audiobook and the first thing that struck me was the delivery of the narrator Scott Brick. Brick puts so much emotion and feeling into his voice that made me feel deeply this story. I opened myself up emotionally completely while experiencing this book and it made all the difference. The writing is fantastic and the amount of different literature books that were talked about was just a thing I loved to read. In fact, because of this book I have started to read more literature and short stories.
At the beginning of this story A.J. is a huge book snob. He has no problem calling a book cliché. He relates his life to a story and it’s funny, after his wife died he thought about how cliché the whole thing was, like it belonged in some horrible book. Through his character growth and the events that take place that turn his life around, he comes to accept that maybe life is sometimes cliché and melodramatic. In fact, one of the things that a lot of people believe is a negative about this novel, it being melodramatic, I believe is intentional, to show that life is kind of a story at times. This is an intentional play off the title of the novel, because it really is “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.”
I just really enjoyed this book a ton. This book has so much emotion and character growth. I think I related a ton to A.J.’s loneliness, place in life, and his courage to start living his life again because I am close to his age. I think this book works best for people in their late twenties or early thirties that are looking to settle down. Book nerds will love this book and it was the main draw for me. This book elicited more emotions from me than most books and I did shed a few tears and was shocked a few times while reading. Just a delightful book that I would encourage, if you enjoy them, to listen on audiobook.
Thank you Gabrielle Zevin for giving me a desire to read more contemporary fiction, enjoy raw emotions while reading, and inspire me to read more literature.
5/5 21/25 Possible Score
Plot – 4(Strong)
Characters – 4(Strong)
Setting – 4(Strong)
Writing Style – 4(Strong)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 5(Very Strong)