Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry - by Fredrik Backman: Book Review



My Grandmother asked me to tellyou she's sorry by Fredrik Backman is a sort of modern day fairy tale. Elsa, the main character of the novel, is different than her peers from school, so this makes her friends-less. Her only real friend is her grandma, but after she dies, Elsa is left alone.

What follows is Elsa's mission entrusted to her by her grandma to deliver letters to some very important people in Elsa and grandma's life. It turns out, all the fairy tales the grandmother has told Elsa over the years have their roots in the real life of their mundane. I thought this was a clever idea, suggesting that one never really knows a person unless one spends time learning and getting to know that person.

I was curious about Elsa "difference". We are told she's different, but I was curious in what way. She seemed like those smart main characters in novels or movies, children that are smarter and sassier than their age. Just being smart and having more imagination couldn't possibly make her a hunted person for so long. But it's nice that in the end some other "different" children make their appearance in Elsa's life. This looks a lot like a fairy tale ending, in my opinion.

Of course, grandma's character is probably the best. There is a gold heart hidden under her all over the place day-to-day life. She is, however, a stressful character for a type A personality, like Elsa's mother, whom I liked very much.

I enjoyed the language of the novel. It had the tone you use when you address children in children's books, but I wouldn't read this to a child. I don't even think this is a children's book. It's a novel for the adults that have probably long stopped reading fairy tales. 

What really made this novel grow in my eyes was the use of 21st century reference throughout the book, such as Wikipedia, the Harry Potter books ("quality literature", as Elsa describes them), and even subtle references to The Chronicles of Narnia (the closet that magically fit any person that entered it).

You need to have a bit of patience to get into the rhythm of this book, but I don't regret having read it. It's a different style than I am used to and a fresh look at stories. 

4.5/5stars



I received a free copy of the ebook version of the book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

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