Monday, March 16, 2015

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - Book Review

The first thing you need to know about this book is that it is a bookish book. The main character is a bookseller so yeah, books are very much part of this story. Not only is this beautiful story largely set in a bookstore, but throughout the book we also get little references and quotes pertaining to other books and authors. As you can guess, this is pretty much an ink and paper dream come true for all book lovers. Read on to know more about the story.

The Story

Since the death of his wife, A.J. Fikry has become quite the bitter man. His business is bordering failure, his health is a doctor's nightmare due to poor eating habits and a drink too much per night, and he has taken to shutting out the people who have been reaching out to him. And then one day, as he enters his bookstore, fulling expecting another slow business day, he's shocked to find a very unique package left to his attention right in the middle of the place. Recovering from his initial bemusement, A.J.  realizes that someone just dropped off a baby in his bookstore. Thus ensues a series of decisions and events that will forever change not just the grumpy bookseller's life but also the entire community of Alice Island.  

My Review

Break Time by Maelle Rajoelisolo
The Characters
This book is quite character-driven. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that A.J is an Indo-American character, since diversity in books is something I really appreciate. Despite being presented to us as a bitter man, A.J. eventually grows on the reader. Not only is he brilliantly sarcastic, but you can also actually relate to him. Over the course of the story, through the choices he makes and due to the way he starts to interact with the other characters, he eventually grows on you, making you eager to find out more about him. 

Maya, the baby who is dropped off at his bookstore was also a really good character. Not only is she very likeable, but she is also a smart girl. The book also follows her story as she grows up and over the course of the pages, she slowly becomes a very intelligent young woman with enough book nerdiness to make us, book lovers, smile a few times adoringly. 

This book also had an interesting cast of supporting characters. Despite the fewer appearances they made, they remained crucial to the main story, adding even more depth and loveliness to the story. This might in fact be one of the books I've read to have the best supporting characters. 

The Story
The story unfolds at a leisurely and very agreeable pace. The author does not rush to feed us information. Instead, little pieces of information are offered through each flip of the pages. That does not only makes it easier for us to follow what's going on but it also allows us to focus even better on the story. This book also has a really good plot with just enough subplots to keep things entertaining and intriguing. 

The Prose
The language in this book is beautiful without going over the top with it. A more poetic prose would have lessened the impact of the narrative's more down to earth style. Instead, we are narrated the story in a beautiful but down to earth voice which makes the characters' stories accessible to the reader in a more relatable way. The language is also subtly humorous, spinning sarcasm and comical elements smoothly into the main narrative. 

The Ending 
I'm not going to spoil anything here but all I'll say is that towards the end of the book, something happens to A.J. which I believe will generate mixed reactions from readers. I was so invested into his story that I responded rather strongly to those scenes with a mixture of awe and disbelief. Regardless of how I have and how you might react to that particular bit though, the ending was beautifully done. That I'm adamant about. The final lines so perfectly concluded the book, making it quite a satisfying ending indeed. 

The Rating
I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads. The only reason why I didn't give it 5 stars is due to that particular series of events leading up to the ending, as mentioned above. This is subjective though as I do believe many people would disagree with me there. Overall this was a superb book. A must for people who not only love to read but who also appreciate all bookish things in general. 

If you've read or plan to read this book, let me know down in the comments below. I'm curious to see what other people have thought of the ending. Of course, keep the comments spoiler-free :)

Follow me here:
Google +


  1. Wonderful Review S.S.- I'm going to start calling you S.S. for Super Soudha!!! <3

    1. Thanks Lanie ^_^ I could get used to that nickname! <3

  2. This sounds like an interesting read. Pretty different from what I normally read but love bookish things so I'm adding this to my TBR list. Thank you for the introduction.

    1. I'm glad you found my review helpful. It's not a genre that I read a lot from either but I was positively surprised by it. I really think you'll enjoy it too ;)

  3. Need To Increase Your ClickBank Traffic And Commissions?

    Bannerizer makes it easy for you to promote ClickBank products by banners, simply go to Bannerizer, and get the banner codes for your chosen ClickBank products or use the Universal ClickBank Banner Rotator to promote all of the available ClickBank products.