This is very dear and sweet book for lovers of books. A.J. Fikry is the quirky owner of a small, independent bookstore on the fictional Alice Island in New England. He is cynical, cranky, and depressed…and not without reason. The recent death of his beloved wife has torn his life apart. As the story develops, Fikry finds love and fatherhood gratifying. His choices in fiction change at the opening of each chapter where he quotes and comments on books he has read. The opening to each chapter becomes softer and less tutorial.
A.J.’s crankiness is balanced by Maya’s youthful intelligence and Amy’s light-hearted charm. The book contains a good cast of eccentric townsfolk in a small community. The various characters are well developed, and we come to love all of them. The young child named Maya is especially precious in her sense of awe and wonder. She grows up in the bookstore. It is a true delight to see the world from her point of view. Amelia is a very independent and devoted bookseller whose life is filled with kindness and eclecticism. The book has a couple of mysteries related to a book that is stolen from Fikry, and the parentage of the little child left in Fikry’s unlocked bookstore. The mixed race element is also present in this book. The child is born of a black mother and a white father. A.J. also has a white mother and an southeast Asian father (Indian). The story speaks to embracing people of all backgrounds. Through the love of books, the community of Alice Island comes together. This is a very readable and a very endearing book. It also inspires us to want to see and support the return of our neighborhood bookstores.
This book was read and enjoyed by the Lev Eisha Book Club.
Submitted by Lillian Laskin