Tuesday, February 3, 2015
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Today I finished the book, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry". I began to read it yesterday. It's simple, it's short, and it's different. By the time I'd completed the story, I also found myself with a five page booklist and about half a dozen google worthy topics which I'm interested in researching further.
A friend of mine visited the World's Biggest Bookstore before it closed its doors for good last year. At that time, we shared a lengthy discussion about the future of books and bookstores in their current form. Part of this story explores that issue. In fact, The Washington Post review describes, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" as ..."optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both."
Each chapter is given the title of a story, the date it was published, and the author's name. There's a brief comment or synopsis along with A.J. Fikry's take on how it somehow relates to his current situation.
The novel moves quickly and spans a large amount of time, sixteen years I believe, in it's short 258 pages. A.J. Fikry is the proprieter of a small book shop on Alice Island near Hyannis. At age 39, he is angry, anti social, and despondent over circumstances in his life. When he appears to be at his lowest point, something unusual happens. He develops an unlikely friendship with the police chief and is left with an even more incredible responsibility in his life.
I thought there was a bit of a slow start and a gap in development of characters at the beginning of the book. For a long time, I didn't feel I had enough information to visualize the protagonists as I like to do. I couldn't think of a single friend, relative, movie star etc. that could portray these people for me as I read. I tried, but failed. Nonetheless, I read on. A few of the early situations seemed too simplistic and easily solved. Having said all that, I like to think that I'm a great predictor of potential outcomes. For some reason, this book caught me by surprise as I was slammed with a gasp-worthy event at the end of part one. It made sense, but for some reason, I didn't see it coming.
As a summary, I can say that this book is at times depressing, humorous, and thought provoking. It's not always predictable. The solutions are not always happy, but satisfactory. There are many references to both adult and young adult literature. I would recommend it for a quick, light read. Having said all that, since it's a New York Times best seller, can a movie be far behind? I hope that's the case because I'd really like to see which actors would be portraying the characters that I can't seem to envision.