Off the Charts – the storied life of a.j. fikry (Gabrielle Zevin)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Aye, me first read of the year is neither fantasy nor sci-fi.  But on the plus side it is set in a bookstore.  I have been meaning to read this for forever and then the audiobook I had been on a wait list for was automatically checked out to me.  So here we are.

This ended up being a very uneven read for me with the balance being on the negative side.  There were parts I loved and there were parts that I didn’t love at all.  What I loved best about this book was the first third.  A.J. Fikry is a grumpy bookseller on a small island who has very pointed views about how life should be lived and what books should be read.  He is set in his ways.  Ye are first introduced to him through a young woman, Amelia, who is promoting her publisher’s current catalog.  He is not nice.

Fikry’s life is falling apart and he is on the verge of giving up when a toddler is left in his bookstore with a note.  His life changes then and there.  Watching Fikry’s life change for the better was refreshing.  I adore his relationship with Maya and watching it grow.  I also really loved Amelia and Lambaise.  The book basically goes through Fikry’s entire life with the reader seeing the major highlights.

The parts I didn’t like had mostly to do with character and writing style.  I absolutely didn’t like Ismay’s character or her entire subplot.  I get that it was part of the whole twist at the end but it didn’t work for me.  I wanted her to go away.  As for writing style, it was obvious that the author has a love of literature and the book is sprinkled with nuggets of book fun.  But there are sections of Fikry’s ranting that were snobbish and rude.  Characters in the book even comment that Fikry makes them feel dumb.  The author did metatextual things with the writing in this regard that I didn’t care for.  And the ending.  I didn’t like the entire end of Fikry’s life or what happens to the others once he is gone.

That said, I do understand why people love this one. I am glad they love this one.  I just wish that it would have worked out better for me.  No regrets about readin’ this but I won’t ever reread it.

Side note: It feels so very good to be caught up on reviews and be writing a post for one book at a time!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Gabrielle Zevin – Author

To buy the book go to:

the storied life of a.j. fikry – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

15 thoughts on “Off the Charts – the storied life of a.j. fikry (Gabrielle Zevin)

  1. I totally agree with you! I found AJ to be so snobby and felt the book was pretentious. It just really bugged me that a book that was supposed to be about reading & a love of reading seemed like it was looking down on a lot of different genres of reading. (I felt those sections to be almost the author’s own thoughts rather than just the characters thoughts). I read this for my book club and I think I was the only one that didn’t like it – everyone else seemed to rave about the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye, that be it exactly! It did seem like I was hearing the author’s voice rather than the character’s. And every time those sections occurred I kept being thrown out of the story and annoyed. It be nice to have a kindred spirit that clarified the problem for me. Though of course I would wish that all crew loved every single book they read. If only. Fantastic comment matey. Thanks for sharing!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah glad someone agrees with me. The more I think about it the more the book annoyed me. Not the best start to the new year but I read winter of the witch and adored it. So the readin’ is already getting better!
      x The Captain


      1. Ah that makes sense 🙂 Is yer book club online or in person? What type of books does it focus on? I am exploring the possibilities of joining a book club meself but am not sure what type I want to join.
        x The Captain

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In person, but we all met when we volunteered for an animal sanctuary. There isn’t a focus on specific types of books. Each month a different person emails out a list of a couple of choices, we vote on it and then they select a date/place to meet. i really like it but I’m lucky that I like everyone in the club.

        Liked by 1 person

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