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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Algonquin Books (first published April 1st 2014)
ISBN 1616204516 (ISBN13: 9781616204518)
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On the ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skims her predecessor's notes.AJ is the ornery proprietor of a small island bookstore. He lost his wife sometime ago, and his life is changed for the better when he unexpectedly finds himself the adopted father of a little girl. Meanwhile he navigates the complicated path to love with a book sales rep, all while dealing with some very Asperger-like qualities. And he does it all quite well.
There is a little mystery wrapped up in this romantic literary fiction, and I don't want to give away the mystery. Suffice to say that this was a pleasant and quaint read, and I rather enjoyed it. AJ's transformation warmed my heart, and I liked sales rep Amelia's quirkiness, along with precocious daughter Maya. They made for a charming trio! This would make a nice cozy winter read by the fireside!
The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.
This book was the September 2015 selection for the Cape Coral Bookies.