In this zany novel the centenarian Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his nursing home to avoid his birthday party. Wearing bedroom slippers, heIn this zany novel the centenarian Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his nursing home to avoid his birthday party. Wearing bedroom slippers, he heads to the nearby train station. One crazy event after another lands Allan and some new friends (with criminal backgrounds) heading through Sweden while avoiding the police.
Alternating chapters tell us about Allan's backstory as a munitions expert. Although he avoids talking about politics and religion, Allan found himself inadvertently meeting world leaders and influencing history for eighty years. Allan is an optimist who needs nothing more than a good meal and some vodka to make him happy.
The reader has to suspend disbelief that a 100-year-old man could be in such good shape physically and mentally as Allan is. Just go with the flow, and enjoy the escapades of this remarkable centenarian. I especially enjoyed the social commentary and the dry humor describing our world leaders. 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to 4 stars....more
"A Different Kind of Christmas" is a short novel about the Underground Railroad and the escape of some Southern slaves during the holiday festivities."A Different Kind of Christmas" is a short novel about the Underground Railroad and the escape of some Southern slaves during the holiday festivities. Fletcher Randal, the son of a North Carolina plantation owner is attending college at Princeton in 1855. He meets three Quaker students who take him to their home in Philadelphia where he is exposed to their anti-slavery beliefs and the Underground Railroad. His conscience bothers him, and Fletcher vows to help their cause.
The book is written simply so it would be appropriate for middle school students as well as adults. There is quite a bit of important background about the Underground Railroad, the Quakers, and slavery in the first half of the story. Some of it is woven into the story, but Fletcher is shown researching at the college library to learn more about the subject. When Fletcher returns to North Carolina for the Christmas break, he meets the engaging character Harpin' John. Tension builds as they make their plans since there is great danger to both the escaping slaves and the "conductors" of the Underground Railroad.
The book works if the reader thinks of it as an instructive parable or fable, fine for older children. Since the book is marketed to adults, it seems like there should be a bit more soul-searching and character development as Fletcher reaches such a difficult, courageous decision. While Fletcher is following the morally right path, he is also betraying his loving parents, ruining his father's political career, probably losing his inheritance, and risking death. So I would give the book a high rating for the moral message, but a lower rating for the storytelling....more
3.5 stars. First published as "It Had to Be Murder", this noir short story was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as "Rear Window". Jeffries, a disabled man,3.5 stars. First published as "It Had to Be Murder", this noir short story was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as "Rear Window". Jeffries, a disabled man, sits by his bedroom window filling the hours by watching the comings and goings of his neighbors. He noticed that the ill wife of another tenant seemed to be missing. The story takes the reader inside Jeffries' mind as he works through his suspicions about the woman's disappearance. It was an enjoyable short story where the suspense kept building....more