“It is the secret fear that we are unlovable that isolates us,” the passage goes, “but it is only because we are isolated that we think we are unlovable. Someday, you do not know when, you will be driving down a road. And someday, you do not know when, he, or indeed she, will be there. You will be loved because for the first time in your life, you will truly not be alone. You will have chosen to not be alone.”
― Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Dang it, Gabrielle Zevin! What are you trying to do to me with that quote???
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry has been one of the hardest books for me to write about. I’ve sat down at least 5 or 6 times intending to write about it and I just end up staring at the computer. I can’t totally pinpoint why I loved it so much or how to express what makes it so great. I believe, at the heart of this book- it’s a love story. A love story between a father and daughter, between quirky girl and grumpy guy, between unlikey friendships, between a small town and its inhabitants, and last but not least- between books and their readers.
This book had such an endearing and heartwarming quality that I genuinely felt immersed into the whimsical small-town life. While I love the classic actual book vs. e-reader argument and the interwoven literary references, the heart of this story lies within a grumpy bookstore owner and his relationship with quirky town folk, his big-city lady and a special someone that shows up when least expected (but most needed). Zevin’s writing is understated, and not at all superfluous. It has a very poetic quality- romantic even, that really lends itself to the charming feel of the story. Such a joy to read.
Before I wrap this up and urge you to grab this book if you haven’t already, I hope you are ready and willing to dive back into the archives here. About a year ago I blogged about a book haul from The Tattered Cover in Denver, Co. and it just so happened that the one new book I picked up while there was The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry… HELLO SERENDIPITY, HOW ARE YOU?! A book about a bookstore that I picked up from a bookstore’s recommendation section? Sold!