A lot of people on Litsy were raving about this book, and now I understand why. It’s one of those feel-good stories that make you laugh a little, cry a little, and want to go to a bookstore. Can’t be bad, right?
The story itself is a riff on Silas Marner. A. J. Fikry is the owner of a bookstore. He’s recently widowed, and not a very nice man. He barks and grumbles, and keeps to himself as much as he possibly can, and the rest of the people who live on the island pretty much steer clear. He also drinks way too much, and has strange blackouts which aren’t necessarily alcohol-related.
So into this rather small and unhappy life comes Maya, a two-year-old girl who is left in Fikry’s bookstore with a note that explains that her mother can no longer care for her. And, you guessed it, he falls in love with Maya, who turns his life around.
The rest of the story is their life together, and Fikry opening up to the people in his town, living his life instead of hiding from it. It’s one of those small towns with some quirky characters, so the ensemble cast is fun. It hit all my sweet spots, so I awarded five stars even though I might not have been quite as generous if I wasn’t a sucker for stories about bookstores and booksellers, and small towns peopled with odd and wonderful citizens.
I look forward to seeing what Gabrielle Zevin has in store for her readers in the future.