3 Stars,  Mini Reviews

Mini Review | The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 Stars – Like reading an overly sentimental made for TV movie

Format: Kindle

Read: October 2023

I read Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow earlier this year and I didn’t love it.. which definitely seems to have put me in the minority! It started off well, I enjoyed the writing and I thought the characters were well drawn but I didn’t enjoy the structure, it was too long, the story dragged and in the end I didn’t like, or care what happened to, Sadie or Sam.

However, I liked enough about the writing that I was curious to try another book by the author.

Unfortunately I had a very similar experience with A.J. Fickry, so perhaps Gabrielle Zevin’s stories just aren’t for me.

I liked
– I liked A.J. as a character, even if he’s a bit of a heavy handed portrayal of a curmudgeonly, snobbish bookshop owner.

– I loved Chief Lambiase. He is easily the best character in the book! I wanted more of him.

– A.J.’s notes that preface chapters with his takes on classic books were quite fun.

– It was an easy read (even if frustrating) , and I did finish the 320 pages without too much skimming to the end which us how it an added star.

What I didn’t like

– Like Tomorrow, the story is told over many years and each chapter is a vingnette with a jump forward in time. I felt like I never spent enough time with the characters before things changed again, it just breaks my engagement and I was increasingly bored by it. The story becomes very jumbled and loses any power it had.

– I don’t know what genre this wants to be! It starts as a rom-com but then it drops that; then there is a half-arsed mystery element; then it ends as a heavy handed a tragedy. None of the elements are well done or satisfying and the whole thing is overly sentimental like one of those American made for TV “Hallmark” movies. And interestingly it was turned into a movie which has a poor Rotten Tomatoes score!

– I’m not the audience for the cutesy small town America setting. I also don’t enjoy precocius children!

– It tries so hard to appeal to “bookish” (social media has made me hate this term) people that it turned me off. Also A.J. has a terrible take on eBooks.

If you like super sentimental cheesy small town stories, and memoir style books told in vignettes, then you might like this. If you enjoyed Tomorrow, And Tomorrow, And Tomorrow you might like it. It really wasn’t for me.

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