disclaimer – i received an e-galley of this novel from algonquin books in exchange for an honest review.
nothing is going right for a.j. fikry. his wife has died, his bookshop isn’t doing well, and after a bender he wakes to find a valuable and precious collection has been stolen. plus, he really isn’t getting along with the people in life. the delivery of an unexpected package just might change not only fikry’s life circumstances but fikry himself.
i really, really wanted to like the storied life of a.j. fikry. i’d heard so much chatter about it, read so many good things about it, seen so many good reviews about it (the non-spoilery ones, that is) that i was prepared to dive into the story and never come back out. surprisingly, i found it only so-so. i have a big problem with authorial intrusion and there were just too many times i was involved with the story and BANG something from the real world would come out and smack me in the face. seeing that gabrielle zevin wrote this novel to be not just a story about a man’s journey in his life but a story about stories it seems like a weird complaint, i know. i just couldn’t get on board with the constant intrusions of the real world into a world i so desperately didn’t want to be real. also, it felt like the story could never really settle down and decide what it wanted to be about. there’s a lot to like here, in separate stories, but all thrown together like it is it’s just one of those books that i struggled through because i promised to do a review. at the end i just said, “meh”, and continued on with my day and my reading list.
two out of five stars