Monday, July 6, 2015

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry; Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman - 2015 - Atria

A huge fan of  "A Man Called Ove," I was anxious to try Fredik Backman's newest book. Although I liked the book overall, I struggled with it as well. It took me a long while to finish this one. Here's why...

In this story seven year old (almost eight) Elsa, needs a superhero and a place she can feel safe. Her parents are divorced and her mom is expecting her half-sibling. She feels like an outsider at home and she doesn't seem to fit in at school either. The only person who understands Elsa is her grandmother -- she's her "superhero." 

Opinionated and abrasive, granny is a retired surgeon who has seen plenty of heartache in her lifetime. She spent a lot of time trying to save the lives of others in war ravaged countries. She has always felt like and outsider herself so she knows how Elsa feelsTrouble is granny is 70 years old and is dying of cancer, 

Granny has created a secret language and secret kingdom for Elsa -- "The Land of Almost Awake", a place where she can escape. She leaves Elsa with a mission to carry on once she's gone. It's a series of letters, "apologies", that she is to deliver to people that live in her apartment building.  As Elsa delivers the letters, one by one, she learns more and more about her grandmother's earlier life and about her relationship with the people she felt she had wronged.  The process not only helps Elsa work through her grief, but also helps to create a new extended family for her.

The characters in this book are fairly well developed, quirky yet real.  Elsa seemed wise beyond her years and was very endearing.  This is an imaginative story with some complex themes. However, I found this one tough to read often struggling with the writing. The story was told through the eyes of Elsa who often seemed way to advanced, making her feel less than authentic at times.

Fans of A Man Called Ove may still want to try this one. Just because I struggled don't mean you will.

3/5 stars


  1. I seen other reviews saying that this one isn't as good as the first one. I love 'Ove' but I'm not in a hurry to read this one.

  2. I think I'll read Ove first... picked it up as a kindle daily deal a couple of months ago.

  3. Bummer. I had high hopes for this book since I loved Ove so much. I wonder if it was the writing or the translation you struggled with.

  4. Great review Diane. Seven going on eight does seem young for what sounds like complex issues. Thanks for your candid review.

  5. I haven't read A Mon Called Ove, but want to. I've been on the fence about My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. Sorry you didn't like it more.

  6. I'm reading both of these right now. I find the writing style a bit awkward - maybe due to translation? But I'm still liking both so far....

    Linda in VA

  7. I'm not sure I would make it through that one.

  8. I enjoyed the eccentricity of the characters in this one and the grandmother-mother-relationship building, but it didn't blow me away like I'd hoped. I still have A Man Named Ove to read.

  9. I loved Ove and recommend it all the time. This one I really struggled with and ultimately ended up not liking it much. It was the biggest disappointment for me this year so far given how I felt about Ove.

  10. I loved Ove. Really loved it. This one is in my TBR stack.

  11. I have not read it yet, but my sister did, and she didn't finish it. She was a huge fan of Ove, but did not like this one at all. I will probably still give it a shot, but it's being pushed farther down on the tbr pile.


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