BOOK REVIEW | Bookworms Discussion of ‘The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry’
The eight members of The Bookworms discussion group meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 11 a.m. under the leadership of Judy Rosenberg of Brighton Memorial Library. We’ve been together for two years now, and are grateful to Judy for delivering books to each of us and for steering the discussion. She also provides us with background information about the author.
SUBJECT: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
AUTHOR: Gabrielle Zevin
PUBLICATION: Algonquin Books, 2014
ACCOLADES: A New York Times Bestseller, a #1 Indie Next Pick, and a #1 LibraryReads Selection
RATINGS: Amazon 4.5/5 | Goodreads.com 4/5 | Barnes & Noble 4.5/5
Most of the members found the book to be stimulating and enjoyable. They especially liked the way Fikry used the internet to learn how to take care of Mia, the baby abandoned in his bookshop. They noticed that having the baby in the store led to the village residents coming in with advice and becoming customers.
The references to short stories at the start of each chapter and other literary referrals made us want to delve further into these books.
The Storied Life really had a lot to it for such a small book—only 260 pages. It was a love story between A.J. and Amelia, the publisher’s representative. It was also a mystery about Edger Allan Poe’s ‘Tamerlane’ which had gone missing from A.J.’s collection. It was a detective story about Mia’s past, and a “how-to” book on child rearing. It also served as an example of how people can change, especially A.J. from an old curmudgeon to a sensitive, loving human. In a way, we thought the book was a fairy tale because everything was neatly wrapped up in the end.
It did bring us to the sad problem of the demise of independent bookstores in the age of electronics.
Our next book will be The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant. A previous book by Diamant was The Red Tent, which was excellent so we are all looking forward to reading this one.