Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikrey - Gabrielle Zevin

Now here's a lovely book!  For me, anyway, a person who always enjoys a book about books.  I had already read a book by this author, Elsewhere, a book about a 16 year old who wakes up elsewhere.... I thought it a brilliant concept, but when I read this book I didn't connect the two, nor did I remember the author's name.  No matter.  All the dots are joined now and so let me tell you about AJ and his bookshop on Alice Island, Mass., USA.

AJ Fikrey is a widower, his lovely wife having been killed in an accident some time previously.  But the book does not start with that accident, and it is only mentioned in passing, for the important thing is now.  Now - today, when AJ finds a two year old girl with a label round her neck left behind in his bookshop.  The child knows her name (Maya), she knows her age, but that's about it really, and AJ certainly does not want this problem on his doorstep.  But the problem is not going to go away  because the social worker will not be able to arrange foster care over a weekend.....

When I first started reading, I laughed out loud several times, and read huge chunks out the the hubs.  It just enchanted me.  It is the story of a man and his life and loves.  So simple, so touching, and written with real feeling.  I loved it for two reasons.  It made me laugh at the beginning, smile in the middle and cry at the end.  That's the first reason (I know there are three things mentioned but trust me here!).  The second reason is that this is a book about books as well as the story of AJ.  And the titles of those books are woven into the narrative so nicely that I kept smiling every time I came across one (many of which I had read).  Also, at the beginning of each chapter is a little chunk about a short story, and why AJ chose to tell Maya about that particular one.  If you love books and love to read, like me, you will enjoy the journey through all those books, as well as the narrative of AJ's life.