The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

I was hooked on this book by the third page, and it’s because of this exchange:

“You’ll notice I didn’t call you right away, Amelia,” he says. “I didn’t call you because I had met someone better, and when that didn’t work out, I decided to give you a second chance. So don’t be thinking you’re superior. You’ve got a decent smile, I’ll give you that, but your teeth are too big and so is your ass and you’re not twenty-five anymore even if you drink like you are. You shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” The gift horse begins to cry. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

“It’s fine, Boyd.”

Oh, that’s gold.

I identified with Amelia for all the wrong reasons, which is why I kept reading.  But it was A.J. and his love of books who made me fall in love with this book.  And a terrific bonus to Zevin’s delightful story are her chapter titles, which are actually titles of various short stories and novels that parallel each chapter in some way.  (Your reading list will probably take a hit as you read this one, as mine did, but…yes, yes, bring me all the books!).  The Goose Waltzer is similar to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, as both stories are peopled by characters who truly believe all the answers and mysteries in life might be found within the pages of a well-written novel. 

Read this one when you need to feel hopeful about life and love and yourself in general.  Enjoy!

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