Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Literary Fiction/Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Format: Egalley from Netgalley.com
Thank you Algonquin Books via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!
My rating: 5+ of 5 stars
Yes, you’ve read the star rating correctly, I have given this book MORE than 5 stars. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry had captured my heart, mind, and soul quite early in the book and I was so helplessly in love that all I could think was, “Oh God, please don’t let this end.” I knew I would be crushed – fully and completely crushed – if the book didn’t maintain the level of pure awesomeness Gabrielle Zevin had already presented me.
If you speak to anyone in my book circles who even remotely knows me, you’ll find that I don’t do “favorites”, I just can’t. It is like picking a favorite child. However, in this case I have absolutely no issues boldly stating that this is my FAVORITE read for 2014, and I’m guessing that it won’t lose that spot. I won’t say never or guarantee that it won’t happen, but the bar has been set high (and if you look back at my other completed reads of 2014, you’ll see I’ve got some good ones in there). As a matter of fact, I’m already devising a list of people who will be receiving gift copies of this book from me and I will purchasing a copy for my shelf as soon as possible.
Okay, so why. Why am I so in love with this book? Well, number one, I fell for the main character immediately. A.J. Fikry isn’t your typical male protagonist, he’s your story-book, nerdy, introverted, set in his ways, awesomely awesome male protagonist. A.J. Fikry, in all his crankiness is my new book boyfriend. No rippling muscles or extravagant career, but so perfect – read it, you’ll see why, I’m not giving anything away because Zevin has written so many secrets for you to find, as the reader. Secrets about Fikry, his life, and the story that defines Alice Island. And really, ALL the characters are lovable. Well, there are, of course, some bad guys, but they totally rock at being bad guys – they are impeccably written bad guys and I adore them too.
Secondly, and more importantly (maybe for some…who knows) is the writing. Readers will fall into this book easily. The writing is real and oh so “bookish”. I was quickly transported straight to Alice Island and I never left, that is until the book was complete, which I managed in about 8 hours because the language, the words, the story all just flowed.
Now, I must address the feels, yes there were feels. The first one I noticed was pure joy. Yep, joy. I found myself smiling as I read. And this wasn’t just some little grin, I was beaming from ear to ear while reading. The book just warmed my heart, even ‘ol Fikry warmed my heart, but don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. There is also hurt, sorrow, and badness, all written beautifully with well-developed characters. Oh and intrigue; very well-balanced, I-know-something-is-up-and-kinda-think-I’ve-figured-it-out intrigue. The thing about that is even when readers think they might have it all figured out, I’m willing to guess they don’t have it fully figured out – I didn’t!
Lastly, I want to talk about a few letters that A.J. writes and are interspersed throughout the novel. Readers get to know a completely different side of the main character in these letters. A softer side though he never relinquishes his literary hard-ass side, and for that I am quite thankful.
So in closing, I’m going to go a very simple route: GO.BUY.THIS.BOOK. Read it immediately. Come back here and tell me what you thought. I ended this book loving it even more than when I started it and I could talk about it with others for ages.
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.