The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry Book Review

Book review by Dinh.

3.5 Stars

Read synopsis here.


I was looking forward to reading The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. The book jacket gave the hint of a promising read. I do like to read books in which the main character transform or blossoms by the end of the book!

This is my first book by this author so I didn’t really know what to expect going in. The hardback book was only 258 pages which is on the shorter side of a novel I usually read. On the plus side, it would be a quick read, however it did make me wonder if Zevin was able to pull off a good story.

So, was it worth the read? Yes is the short answer!

Here’s what I liked about it:

Story Line

I loved the premise of this book. It pays homage to books, authors and bookish things.

A. J. is a widow and owns a bookstore on Alice Island and nothing is going right for him and he is out of sorts – until he finds a toddler left in his bookstore. His life thereafter is transformed.

Author’s Style

The novel was easy to read and had plenty of dialogue so I was turning the pages quickly.

The pace of the book and the length of the book also made it a quick read.

Zevin does a good job in structuring the book. I loved that at the beginning of each chapter there was a book selection and a note from A. J. to Maya. This was a thoughtful way to include books that A. J. thought Maya would enjoy and why he selected it.

Whilst the author did well in creating the structure, setting and quirky characters I did feel that it was a bare bones book. It lacked something…not sure what, perhaps depth?

I liked the themes, the setting, the bookish references and the twist, BUT it didn’t give me feelings!

Find Gabrielle Zevin: Website | Facebook | Instagram


I enjoyed the characters in this book but I did feel that they were not realistic. I didn’t warm up to any of the characters and felt that they were like cardboard cut out.

What I did like was how each character was transformed. A. J.’s life was completely overhauled with the adoption of Maya. He was given a second chance with love with marrying Amelia.

Chief Lambiase’s character was awesome. He moved from an occasional reader, to a book club reader and ended up as a book store seller!


The ending was apropos. It began with Island Books and ends with it. It ends like the beginning- a circle of life.

My Final Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. Althoug it does have lots of elements I like in books, it was not executed well enough for it to be a great read. I liked that it paid homage to books and had some interesting bookish references.

Get your copy here. Or listen to the audio book for free with an Audible trial.

Belong to a book club? Check out The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry book club discussion questions!

2 thoughts on “The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry Book Review

  1. Can’t wait to read the book…recently saw the movie and went back to see it again…LOVED THE MO VIE and can’t wait to get it on DVD…Finally a movie without, killing, blood, violence and something with meaning and sensitivity.
    I will never understand why there were so few people at the theatre, but based on the lack of publicity, that might be a reason.

    1. Hi Ronald!
      I am excited to watch the movie….it’s been on my to do list but I have not had the time to sit down for a few minutes.
      Since Covid happened I have only wanted to read happy ending or uplifting books.

      I hope you enjoy the book and let us know how it compares to the movie!
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.