Confession – I read this book almost two years ago now and I haven’t had a chance to reread it since then. But as I was sitting and thinking of the right book to post about to end the year, this one popped into mind almost immediately. And conveniently enough, we were going to visit my family for the Holidays (this is relevant because my copy is currently on loan to my mother). In any case, it was a great opportunity to get a festive photo of the book that will make my last post of 2017 perfect.
And before jumping in, I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has followed this blog, read/liked/commented on my posts, and generally just been super supportive this year. When I started this blog in February/March, I had literally zero idea what I was doing. I’ve made lots of adjustments and improvements over the last few months and can’t wait to see where it goes in 2018. So, once more with feeling, thank YOU!!
This was my first Backman, even though A Man Called Ove is much more well-known and popular… And that’s actually why I think I wasn’t as impressed by Ove (see my full review) when I finally read it. Regardless, this book was a no reservations 5-star read for me. It’s sweet and heartwarming and gives you all the fuzzy feels in your heart which, in my opinion, makes it the perfect post-Holiday, start-the-New-Year-right, sort of book.
As I mentioned, I read this prior to starting the blog, so my review is a little more limited/less detailed than what they have morphed into. However, I’m going to go ahead and directly quote it anyways, short though it is, because even with less detail about the writing style and overall specifics of character and plot development, my feelings on the story (the most important part) come through loud and clear.
To set the stage, here’s the blurb about the novel from Goodreads: Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
Without further ado, two-years-ago-Paige’s heartfelt reaction:
“This. Book. Was. Gorgeous. I laughed. I cried. I did both again. And I got completely swallowed up by the stories and the characters and never wanted the book to end. I honestly don’t remember what being 8 was like, well almost 8, and maybe some people who remember better may say this wasn’t the most authentic 8 year old voice, but I’ll tell you, I bought into every precocious second of it. Elsa was a phenomenal narrator. Her grandmother’s fairy tales, and how they translated into the real life people in Elsa’s life, was one of the most interesting devices and use/non-use of suspension of disbelief that I have ever encountered. Each character had their own story, their own growth and transformation, and they all made sense within the confines of the story and the timeline, nothing too much. And even Granny, even in death, her character matured and grew as you read about her and her relationships with each character in turn. This is one of those special coming of age fairy tales that is able to completely transport you and keeps a hold on your heart long after you read it. There is really nothing I can write that would give this story enough credit. This book was out of this world. It was the Land-of-Almost-Awake. And everyone should take the time to visit.”
HAPPY NEW YEAR – see you in 2018!