Funny how it seems like books with babies in the story seem to be summoning me now that I have a baby of my own. After reading Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica, I thought I’ll go for a light, heartwarming read and chose The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. Of course, it goes without saying that I have a biased inclination for the book because it has my namesake but the bonus which I didn’t know is that it also has an adorable, smart baby in the first good half of the story!
A.J. Fikry is a bitter, young-ish bookseller still grieving the loss of his wife but whose humor is still absolutely in place even right after the accident that took the love of his life away. He couldn’t help but relate every experience even tragic ones to books and characters he has read. Every person he meets, he profiles as if they’re a character in a novel. He’s too grumpy and old school for his age, behaving as if he’s Ove’s contemporary. At the same time, his judgmental eyes and intelligent humor remind me of Joe of You, of course minus the sinister psychological disorder. Lol. He is definitely a certified nerd, here’s further proof.
“Before he met his wife, A.J. had sung second tenor for the Footnotes, Princeton’s all-male a cappella group.” (LMAO)
“Fucking love, he thinks. What a bother. It’s completely gotten in the way of his plan to drink himself to death, to drive his business to ruin.”
This is literary fiction at its best combining classic and contemporary; mystery and humor; romance and friendship. I didn’t expect this to be this good. It’s everything a bookaholic would certainly love especially because it’s filled with books and stuff related to books and writing. While I was laughing majority of the time I was reading, I was also aching in so many places especially in the last few chapters where there are just so many things so relatable and so true. How everything in the story fell right in its proper place, how everything was given clarity and meaning and resolution, how it all makes sense in the end and how completely satisfied I am finishing it. It’s an honor having read A.J.’s indeed storied life.