Since moving to a new state and town, I have been looking for ways to get involved with the community. So I joined a monthly book club at the local library. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was the September choice. Many of my reader friends have read and loved this book so I was ready to give it a shot.
Well, a fairy simple and easy read, I read this book in two nights. My first impression of the book, however, differs from my impression of the book now, after my book club discussion. So let’s start with my FIRST impressions.
I found A.J. to be very much like Ove (from the book A Man Called Ove) which I liked, yet a part of me found him unbelievable. I felt like his reason for being curmudgeonly (widower) wasn’t enough for me. I mean, he was a flat out jerk to people. I also had a huge problem with the way he all of a sudden is an adoptive father to a young girl (she was left on his door-step!!) Such a strong part of me was rolling my eyes at that. But his time with his daughter was really beautiful and it was nice to see him change. So after I finished reading, I thought “Ok, this book is cute, but not deep and definitely not blowing my mind”.
AFTER going to book club and discussing the book with other readers, I realize I needed to tell my brain to shut up and focus on the emotions of the book. I can be such a realist and have issues when a story doesn’t seem realistic to me. But what I realized with this book is that it wasn’t exactly meant to be realistic, it was meant to show how people need each other, how people influence each other and how we meet people at the right times in our lives. This book isn’t really the best story, but that isn’t the point. The point is to show all the different ways people make up our lives. Sometimes we view our lives as so cellular and personal, but really, it’s so much bigger than that and the people around us make it so.
I am happy to say that I changed my rating from 2 stars to 4 stars because of the book club discussion and I look forward to continuing with this book club experience!