But it could have been so much more.
It was fine the way it was. But it had the potential to be more. A.J. Fikry is the owner of an independent bookstore on Alice Island. His wife died in a car accident not long ago, and subsequently, his life is falling apart. Then someone leaves a little girl in his bookstore, and he has to figure out how to build a new life for both of them. It’s a novel full of zany characters; a book that has you cheering for A.J. from the very first page. There are literary references galore, and a love of reading that shines through clearly on every page. It’s a fun summer read.
But it could have been so much more than just a breezy summer read. The problems that A.J. and other characters encountered were solved too quickly and too neatly. These characters faced real struggles, things that each of us could someday face in our own lives. And instead of watching them fight through these struggles, we simply turn the page to see everything packaged with a neat bow. This could have been a book you turned to during those struggles in your life, a book you could empathize with, a book you could turn to for guidance. Instead, it’s just a quick summer read.
I really did enjoy this book. I read it in one day, and I loved meeting each and every new character. But I wish it was a book of more depth and less surface. If it were, it would have easily found a place on my bookshelf and to-be-reread-soon list. As it is, it was a quick read that will be too quickly forgotten.