Monday, April 7, 2014

SheReads Blog Network: Review: THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY by Gabrielle Zevin

She Reads

I am part of the amazing SheReads Blog NetworkWhich means that I am fortunate enough to partner with some of the most savvy, talented, and intelligent book bloggers in the business. Every month we wonderful women read our selections and review them on our personal sites. We are kind and witty and love books more than air. We would love for you to visit each of us online and follow us on our blogs, Facebook and Twitter. You don’t want to miss all the book goodness we have to offer! 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Read more reviews and enter giveaway HERE


The Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe official summary:  In the spirit of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books–and booksellers–that changes our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds.  
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.

Gabrielle Zevin’s writing career began at 14 years old when an angry letter to her local newspaper about a Guns ‘n’ Roses concert resulted in a job as a music critic. Over several novels for adults and young people, she has written about female soldiers in Iraq, mafia princesses in retro-future New York City, teenage girls in the afterlife, talking dogs, amnesiacs, and the difficulties of loving one person over many years. She is probably best known for her first novel, Elsewhere, which has been translated into over 20 languages. She is also the screenwriter of the cult hit Conversations with Other Women.
In the Age of Love and Chocolate, the latest in the the saga of Anya Balanchine, will be out October 2013.
Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, will be published in April 2014 by Algonquin in the US and by Little, Brown in the UK (as The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry). It will also be published in 18 other languages.

I fell in love with the writing of Garbrielle Zevin when I read ELSEWHERE.  The ability that Zevin posses to transport you to another time and place with her words is quite remarkable.  She writes original and engaging literature.  She become an instant favorite with that first novel of hers that I read.  I was so excited when I read the blurb of THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY and was told the SheReads network had chosen it for our April pick.  

I adored THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY.  The characters were so well drawn out and the setting was so warm and welcoming.  Who doesn't love spending time inside a bookstore with a mixed group of compelling characters??? Meeting A.J. as a broken man in the beginning of the story and seeing his transformation throughout the book was heartwarming...special.  It shows how connections, losses and acceptance all mold who we are and what we become. THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY will renew your faith in the importance of the written word, the power of community and the power of love over all else.  I seriously devoured this novel. There was such heart within the pages...sadness, growth, laughter, honesty and just plain GREAT writing!!!  I highly recommend this novel and rate it 5 stars!!!!

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