From the author of the internationally best-selling A Man Called Ove, a charming, warmhearted novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales.
Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is 77 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 fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman's internationally best-selling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and an ode to one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.
©2015 (c)2015 Fredrik Backman. All rights reserved. English language translation (c)2015 Henning Koch. All rights reserved. (P)2015 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
"Joan Walker narrates this delightful novel with a perfect balance of reverence and playfulness, bringing out Backman's wonderfully authentic child's-eye perspective as well as his heartwarming humor." (AudioFile)
I read this as soon as I finished A Man Called Ove. Backman has an exceptional talent of description using the most incongruous elements which adroitly fill your imagination with exactly the image required (you laugh out loud despite the tears in your eyes with your identification with imperfect upbringings). This book first introduces you to the harsh and easily judgmental view of the characters that would be easily reached upon superficial evaluation, and then leads you to a far more mature and intelligent understanding of their foibles and their heroism, all told in the voice of a painfully precocious, "almost 8 year old" girl. Your understanding of the characters deepens, even as they themselves continue to develop with his talented hand. Though told in the voice of a child, do not mistake this for a children's book, even as you wish you would have read it far earlier in life!
I'll read anything by this author; he's that good. Just buy this and enjoy it. I love A Man Called Ove more than this, but this one is charming and sweet and delightful as well.
I loved my grandma, but I typically don't go in for superheroes and fairytales. Imagine my surprise to find myself falling in love with Elsa, her grandmother, and a host of knights, princesses, and strange beasts.
Elsa is a precocious child set upon by other children with no imagination by day and lives in an "alternate universe" with her grandmother in "the land of almost awake". But when life crashes in, Elsa discovers just how real that land of almost awake is, how many princes/princesses, knights, and strange beasts really do exist. When Elsa's grandmother sends her on a quest that unites Elsa's fractured world, Elsa discovers what it means to be brave, wise, a knight, and a superhero.
Couched in the language of fairytales, this story is about keeping promises, forgiveness, owning up to who you are, and always protecting your friends. Destined to be a multiple listen.
Oh, and you'll learn from Elsa to never try to dodge answering a question with the answer, "It's complicated." After all, "things usually are until you explain them."
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I love Fredrik Backman's writing style. He has a way of painting a picture on the surface then diving in to show you just how wrong your assumptions can be. His characters are interesting, flawed, loveable and real - with a great similarity to people you've known in your own life. He has a special way of showing what makes us who we are.
Both of his books have been absolutely terrific listens - enough so that I've now listened to both of them twice. The first time through I had to find out what was going to happen. I was totally engaged in the story. The second time through I wanted to enjoy his talent as a writer and the pure enjoyment of a perfect narration.
Listen to about four audio books a months. Never without one.
I had high expectations because I loved "A Man Called Ove" and it got great reviews here on Audible. I know I am in a minority but I was so disappointed. There is a lovely story hidden in this book but it is hidden in fairy tales that I found boring and I got lost in. I feel like I wasted 80% of my time to read 20% with meaning. I almost quit many times but I hung in there. I don't mind fantasy. I am listening to Harry Potter now and love it. I didn't like the blending of fantasy with reality. Am asking for a return.
Backman's writing is magical - I love the eccentricity of his characters, his ability to reflect this crazy world and to populate it it with unlikely yet everyday heroes. In Ove's story the cat rules but here we have a true canine hero and a grandmother that any little girl - especially a different little girl - needs and deserves. Bravo!
I'm so sad it's over. I could have followed Elsa's daily life until adulthood. I want to live in Elsa's world. I'm full of joy having experienced this wonderful book.
I really enjoyed. The story started off a little slow for me and was not sure whether I was enjoying. So very glad I kept listening. Thoroughly enjoyable story. I became invested in all the characters. It was so good how the story of each character unfolded. Honestly did not want the story to end. Narration was excellent.
Daisy - love audible books
I download over 100 books a year. I don't even know how to go about my day without listening to a title. It's my happy place!
Like many, I discovered Fredrick Backman first by reading "A Man Called Ove." That book put me on a search for more. This book turned out to be even better! It was such a simple story with subjects and characters easily taken from our everyday lives. And yet, it was so much more. I won't go into the details of the book; many reviewers have already done that. Just know that this is not a YA book, no matter the age of the main character. It was written and narrated with subtle nuances that require a bit more of a mature audience to appreciate. I tend to hate stories that turn out to be book one in a series. What I wouldn't do to have this story continue.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Writing a credible tale about precocious children is tricky. Too often it allows the child too much snarky “wisdom” while making the surrounding adults imbeciles (a la “The Simpsons”). Backman has wonderfully dodged this trap by creating a frankly precocious child who still struggles with childlike fears of abandonment and “being different”, and who still truly needs the love, strength and understanding of the grown-ups in her sphere. And although these same grown-ups (parents, stepparents and neighbors) may have their very real faults, they are united in their commitment to care for and protect Elsa. Most powerful, even in death, is Granny, whose gift to Elsa is a quest to deliver letters of apology to various people, and through this quest, to teach Elsa to embrace those who she never really understood before. Granny has instructed Elsa in a whole fantastic fairy tale world that offers clues to follow in her quest and ultimately to grasp the importance of family, friends and forgiveness.
This story had such a perfect balance of emotions that felt genuine – not manipulated. It took a while to grasp the thread of the fairy tales, but as Elsa’s awareness dawns, so does the reader’s. Joan Walker’s narration was excellent, especially for Elsa, who sounded young, but not babyish. Another homerun from the author of “A Man Called Ove”.
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