The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Plot Summary Part 4

AJ slowly becomes a retard and dies. But before he does, he tells Maya that love is the most important thing. In his final days, the formerly grumpy man has become a sensitive woman.

Lambiase and Ismay take over the bookstore.  Amelia says that the bookstore is like a holy place for her. She acts like just the thought of the bookstore is so arousing that it gives her orgasms, because bookstores are so important to the world. It's really ridiculous. Bookstores sell books. Some books are moderately entertaining. Many are not. Bookstores are not the most important establishments in a community. You want to know what are? Supermarkets. Without food, people die. How profound is that? But book snobs like Amelia won't romanticize supermarkets like they will bookstores.

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The end.

Literary Criticism:

This was not the worst book I've ever read. Not even the second worst book. But neither was it a very good book.

The basic plot--grouchy man learns to become sensitive--has been done to death in literature. Really. There's no new ground to cover there. In fact, you get the sense the author runs out of steam midway through the book, so she thoughtfully throws in some brain cancer for AJ so she can write enough pages to satisfy her publisher.

The mystery of the story--why Marian Wallace kills herself--remains unresolved. Yes, her boyfriend didn't accept the baby. But plenty of boyfriends don't accept babies and the girlfriends, most  of the time, do not kill themselves. So, unexplained. Also unexplained is why she left the baby at the bookstore. Did Ismay tell Marian to leave the baby at the bookstore? That's never stated. The "mystery" part of the story is never resolved, leaving us with a simple "grouchy man become sensitive" story, which isn't enough to carry the book.

I also notice that all the characters, who are presumably black, talk and act exactly like white people. I also notice the authoress, from her photo, looks exactly like a white woman. I think her effort to write about a black community was a little ambitious, which is a polite way of saying that it was totally unconvincing.

All in all, this is a fairly dull, not much happening book--unless you're a book snob who gets book orgasms at the mere mention of the word "independent book store".

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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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