The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, a novel – Algonquin Books 2014. 237 pp.
A. J. And his wife Nic own and run a bookstore on Alice Island. Then Nic dies and A.J. loses all interest in the store and spends his nights drinking and making a mess. When Amelia, a sales rep for books, comes to sign the store up for new books he won’t meet with her.
But then a woman who has 25-month old daughter and no means of support or anywhere to turn leaves her daughter Maya in the bookstore when she finds the door unlocked and A.J. out. She then commits suicide. When A.J. comes back he takes Maya to the police, but because it is Friday evening and all the Social Service organizations are closed for the weekend, he will have to leave her there until Monday.
Well, that seems harsh, so home she goes with A.J. and this sweet and charming and often witty tale begins.
A.J. lives above the bookstore and that is where they spend the nights and Maya sits by the children’s books during the day and gets many visits from the townspeople and their children. Maya is an especially bright little girl and loves her life with A.J., and he adores her. Having her there also helps him to move on with his life.
There is a sign above his store which says, “NO MAN IS AN ISLAND: EVERY BOOK IS A WORLD.” I think book lovers would especially enjoy this book.