Thursday, February 9, 2017


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Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer) is about an almost eight-year-old girl, Elsa, who is coming to terms with several very adult things in her life including her parents' divorce, being bullied at school, and most recently, her grandmother's death and the letters she left for the girl to deliver.

Told through fairytales that her grandmother taught her throughout the years, the author let's us explore the mind of a young child and see her perspective on some pretty weighty issues. Because of this it is sometimes difficult to understand what is going on, what is reality, and what is fantasy. I think the author wrote it this way to simulate how a young child might synthesize issues of this magnitude.

The main reason that Backman is becoming one of my favorite authors is because of his beautifully constructed prose. In this review, I take a slightly different approach as I'd like to share a couple of passages that moved me and why.
Because if you have a granny, your whole life is all-inclusive (p. 45). 
This particular quote spoke to me. If you have a child (or perhaps a niece or nephew) in your life, you probably can relate. Parents give their child life and support, but grandparents give children the world. Watching the relationship between my niece and my mother blossom over the 10 years she's been in the world is pure joy. The relationship that some children are granted with their grandparents is so special, and as Backman states, all-inclusive.
Because nothing scares idiots more than a smart girl (p. 47).  
As a smart girl, myself, I know this all too well. Often times people are intimidated by the girl who is cerebral, thinking beyond what is right in front of her. No matter how far we've come as a society, the cold, hard truth is that women and girls are expected to be pretty then intellectual. When we buck the trend, it's scary. But it's, also, oh so satisfying!
"You must have done something to provoke them." As if that's how oppression works (p. 80). 
How relevant this statement is in the U.S. Many critics of the #BlackLivesMatter movement tend to place blame in the wrong places. The country is currently being led by an administration that thinks it is OK to oppress people based on religious affiliation because they might do something to harm the U.S. That's not how any of this works. I'm hopeful that, as a society, we can rise above these useless, inefficient stereotypes and see people for who they are and not what they look like.
Because all seven-year-olds deserve superheroes (p. 11). 
Absolutely, they do! All children deserve to be children. I'm thankful I was granted a full childhood where I was allowed to be exactly the age I was at any given moment. By gifting this to our own children and/or children upon who we influence, we, too, can be superheroes.

Recommendation: Thanks for indulging me in this departure from how I normally review books I read on this site. While I appreciated the overall theme of Backman's work, this was not one of my favorite books of his. The story is emotion-filled. It will make you laugh, it will make you think, and it just might make you cry. Like a steak, I found the book's topic heavy, and I had to let it rest for a little bit before fully appreciating the story. So, if you take it on, give it a few days to settle upon completion.

Until next time ... Read on!


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