Monday, November 03, 2014

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I tend to be like A. J. Fikry. I often dismiss many new books as just something somebody made up, and I avoid bestsellers. There are just so many redundant romances, zombie stories, suspense novels, depressing memoirs, and such. So, you would not expect that I would try and like the bestseller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel, but I did and do. It is witty, unpredictable, and speaks to me about what I have seen in the world of books from my role as a librarian. Plus, Fikry is a lovable character behind an antisocial mask.

I am better-behaved and less eccentric than Fikry. If you know me, you might say I nothing like the bookseller. But I identify with him anyway. And I can imagine being just as cranky if publishers' sales reps dropped in to promote all their new books. Like most people I know, I dislike telephone calls from anyone trying to sell to me, and I am not the model of hospitality when salespeople show up uninvited.

Like many of us, Fikry is much nicer once you get to know him. In fact, he is incredibly generous to the people who fill his life. That's what the book is about. I bet we can identify some A. J. Fikrys in our own neighborhoods if we try.

Zevin, Gabrielle. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2014. 260p. ISBN 9781616203214.

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