Last year one of my favorite books that I read was “A Man Called Ove”, so I was understandably excited when I received “my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry”, another novel by Fredrik Backman, my new favorite author, as a Christmas gift. It was the first book I read this new year and I have mixed emotions about it, primarily because it was so good I’m just not sure that I’ll read anything better over the next three hundred and sixty-three days, and that is a little disappointing. There’s a reason dessert is served at the end of the meal, because you save the best for last, knowing that anything that comes after it will be a let down in comparison. I should’ve practiced self control but “Ove” left me longing to read more from the talented pen of Backman so I gobbled up the sweetest dish on the menu at the first of the year, and now everything I read will be judged against “my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry” knowing full well that the likelihood of any book being better is comparable to David beating Goliath, seemingly impossible.
The second novel written by Backman is somehow better than his first, a modern day fairy tale that keeps the pages turning as the reader needs to know what happens next. Written from the perspective of a seven year old girl, “my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry” will have you laughing at the honesty and bluntness of the main character, Elsa. After her grandmother’s death she is sent on an adventure, delivering letters written by her granny to the neighbors in their building, a task that brings about unlikely friendships and reveals secrets about the past of everyone in the little girl’s life. Throughout the course of the three hundred fifty plus pages, reality and fantasy intertwine harmoniously, taking the reader from the real world to the “land of almost awake” and back again. The readers gets a sense that there is more to the story than is being told, and as the book goes on we are rewarded as the puzzle pieces finally start falling into place.
All of the fairy tales told to Elsa by her grandmother, are part of the larger story, and as the adventure continues Elsa realizes that she has met these people before in the “land of almost awake.” Once she picks up on the fact that her grandmother’s stories were more than just fairy tales, she realizes her place in them and knows what she must do to fulfill her part. First and foremost it’s a story of friendship, and the bonds that bring unlikely people together. Everything and everyone is connected in some way, and Elsa finds that the history can help guide her through the present. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and am giving it a five out of five rating. If you are looking for a good book to read then “my grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry” should be at the top of your reading list. Although the new year has just begun, I can say with great confidence that this will be one of the best books I read all year, and has made its way onto my list of all time favorites.