Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

by Fredrik Backman
372 pgs

I almost plan, when I like an author’s first book a lot, to be at least mildly disappointed with their next one. The term “sophomore slump” exists for a reason. So, when an author’s next book is just as good as its predecessor, I get very excited about the author, and more than likely, will read everything else they write from then on out. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry puts Fredrik Backman solidly into this category.

Elsa is a seven-year-old girl who has a special relationship with her granny. Granny lives in the same apartment building as Elsa and her mother and Granny understands her better than everyone else in Elsa’s life. Elsa’s precocious nature and granny’s disregard for societal rules have isolated each of them from their peers and resulted in a special bond between the two of them.

As early as Elsa can remember, Granny would tell her fairy tales from the Land-of-Almost-Awake. A land containing six kingdoms Elsa can go to in her mind and not have to worry about her classmates, her divorced parents, or the new half-sibling her mom is expecting soon.

Elsa doesn't know her granny is dying from cancer. But granny, knowing her time was ending soon, devised another brilliant and emotional journey for Elsa to take when she's gone. Granny has written a series of letters to others who live in the apartment building, and tasks Elsa with delivering them after she's gone. These letters are part apology to the recipient, and part treasure hunt for Elsa. Each one reveals to Elsa the origins of the stories she's been told since she was a small child. 

Both of Backman's books have dealt with death and the emotions that accompany it. His first book, A Man Called Ove is about a cantankerous old widower, who misses his wife terribly and is ready to join her in death, and this one deals with a young girl who continues to feel the love of her granny, long after she's gone.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

No comments:

Post a Comment