“One day at a time. One dream at a time. And one could say it’s right and one could say it’s wrong. And probably both would be right. Because life is both complicated and simple. Which is why there are cookies.”
― Fredrik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
I really loved this book! I was inclined to like it because Britt-Marie Was Here left such an impression, but I honestly can't say now which of the two books I liked better! Backman is definitely an author I will keep my eye on. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is a tremendously imaginative, touching, clever story, that I already know will be among my favorites this year. The plot is difficult to summarize without making it sound simplistic. There is a dose of almost everything I look for in a book: beautiful language, humor, a few tears (okay, quite a few) a little magic, friendship, adventure, love. The setting of this novel is a fairly small one, but it heightens the sense of community and friendship, and it makes the characters question what it means to be a family in a traditional sense and a more abstract one. Through the eyes of a child, family doesn't have to be a blood relation, and a best friend doesn't have to be their own age, what matters is kindness, an affinity and the willingness to listen and be supportive. Backman does something in this novel, which can often backfire. He tells the story through the view of a seven-year-old girl, Elsa. She is definitely wise beyond her years, but he doesn't overdo it. It takes a talented author to write a novel for adults, dealing with very adult themes, through the eyes of a child, and I very much commend Backman for his skill and thoughtfulness. I grew so attached to the inventive, personable cast of characters, I feel a bit at a loss now that their story has come to an end. I wish I hadn't read Britt-Marie Was Here yet, so I could have that to look forward to, alas that is not the case. So all I can say is lucky you who still have these two books on your to-read lists!