Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

I know I’m a week behind, get off my back already!!! Sheesh.

*Ahem* Happy Friday, kids! I hope you have fantastic weekends planned so you can dance through the rest of your days today.

Context: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a brief literary fiction work, that was recommended to me through the Tumblr #Favorite Book Swap (organized by Youth Book Review and Books Beyond Imagining [aka BAES]). I read A.J. Fikry cover to cover in one sitting. I can’t recall the last time I enjoyed a new book enough to read it straight through. A.J. Fikry belongs in my mind to a specific category of books that I like to call my “heart books.” Any story where the characters end up being all inter-connected through secret (or not so secret) backstory and the plot warms your heart with cliches and then shatters it with cliches fits in this category. Basically, Sharon Creech was my favorite author in my formative years, and a love for her style (and babies without fantastic destinies but still dropped off at doorsteps) has never left me. Expect a lot of unprofessional gushing to follow.


Positives: Like I said, the plot was cliche, but it was the perfect, heart-string tugging kind of cliche and moved well throughout the novel. The foreshadowing and layering of themes was fantastic (mostly, see below), even if it was slightly overt. The dialogue was incredibly enjoyable, especially to a literary snob like me and there were so many references that made me squee internally (Is ‘squee’ still a thing? Gosh, right after I called myself a literary snob, too).

Negatives: The characters were a little flat, which may have been intentional, I am going to need a re-read before I decide. There was also a theme of water and swimming that seemed to be every where, but without cohesive meaning.

Summary: I would recommend this book to almost anyone, it’s universal in so many ways, and does not require a significant time or energy investment. Basically I can’t wait until I get my own copy because I am going to annotate the crap out of it and give it to my mom as soon as possible (HI MOM) (who am I kidding? She doesn’t read these).

Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot of Nick Hornby lately? The parenthesis are taking over!

XX. Shelby Jo


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