Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Red Address Book; Sofia Lundberg

TITLE: The Red Address Book
AUTHOR:  Sofia Lundberg
PUBLISHER:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  Sweden
FORMAT:  -  ARC ( 300 pp)
RATING: 3.5/5

The "Red Address Book" at the heart of this novel belongs to Doris Alm. The book was given to Doris as a young girl by her father and, over the years she has chronicled the names and stories of people who she met along the way. Most of these individuals, now deceased, hold a secret and shed light into her interesting past.

Today at 96 years of age, Doris lives alone in her Stockholm apartment with occasional caregivers stopping by to help her.  Her great niece, Jenny, lives in the US but the two stay in touch through Skype.  One day Doris falls trying to get herself something to eat when her caregiver did not arrive at the regular time. She is hospitalized so her great niece and youngest child make the trip to spend time with her. The visit serves as an opportunity to learn much about the brave, strong woman she cares so deeply for.

Many who have read this book loved it and I couldn't wait to read it.  I really wanted to love this book but, I just didn't even though I loved the premise and the writing was pretty good overall. It's not a terribly long but, I found that there were too many insignificant details about Jenny as well as Doris which felt like fillers at times.  Some of he topics like illness, loneliness and death made it depressing as well. 


  1. I've seen a lot of those reviews that loved the book. I'm not sure I want to read it if it's depressing.

  2. That does sound a little too depressing.

  3. I am glad it was not just me who felt like something was missing. I wondered if it was because of the translation that I felt so disconnected with it.

  4. Yes, I agree that the premise is solid, but the execution sounds weak. Too bad when that happens.

  5. I'm about 1/3 of the way into this and am feeling the same as you. I had such high hopes, as I had read so many glowing reviews, but it's not one of my favorites. Have you read Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan? I read it in 2012 and loved it!

  6. Oh too bad this didn't live up to your expectations. I love this premise but it definitely sounds like one I want to get from the library instead of purchasing.

  7. Hi Diane,
    If the main character is age 96, then, for people at this stage of life, if they have led fulfilling lives and feel good about that and are able to reflect on that, and have people who can assist them, and so forth, then it can be less depressing than otherwise. That stage of life can be so mixed, depending on the circumstances.

  8. Too bad this didn't live up to it's promise. Aging is in my mind these days since I live with my parents. They aren't really that old (74 and 80), but I do see them aging.

  9. One of those "chalk it up" books, eh?

  10. It does sound really good, and it's sad when a book isn't what you were hoping for!

  11. Diane, thanks for your honest mini review of this book. The Swedish setting appeals to me.


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