Sue's Reviews > My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
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really liked it
bookshelves: net-galley, fiction, sweden, read-2015, fantasy

What a remarkable book. A combination of fantasy and brutal reality, pretend worlds and very everyday now. A 7 (about to turn 8) year old girl and her eccentric (to put it mildly) grandmother, live by their own rules while their mother/daughter holds a responsible, uninteresting job at the local hospital. Grandmother enlists Elsa in her antics and Elsa is a willing henchman while Granny helps to offset the bullying Elsa experiences regularly at school.

Granny has created a world through stories, a world that is both complex and simple, the Land-of-Almost-Awake. This land has it's own structure, myths, heroes and villains and offers some rules that can help in Elsa's world. She has also set Elsa with a project, to deliver messages to people in Granny's life. And she has provided Elsa with guardians and warriors. What the ultimate story is, what the ultimate task is all about, you must read to find out.

And I do strongly recommend that you read this. It was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had this year. It offers a story which centers on a child without being childish; it has elements of fantasy while ultimately being grounded in this world. And it has some wonderfully complex characters.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

July 30, 2015 – Started Reading
July 30, 2015 – Shelved
July 30, 2015 – Shelved as: net-galley
July 30, 2015 – Shelved as: fiction
July 30, 2015 – Shelved as: sweden
July 30, 2015 –
7.0%
August 1, 2015 –
11.0%
August 3, 2015 –
18.0%
August 4, 2015 –
22.0% "It's possible to love your grandmother for years and years without really knowing anything about her."
August 6, 2015 –
28.0% "And there they stand, all three of them: a wurse, a child, and a monster with a need for cleanliness and order that clearly is not at all well suited to the company of wurses and children."
August 6, 2015 –
31.0%
August 6, 2015 –
34.0% "Because not all monsters were monsters in the beginning. Some are monsters born of sorrow."
August 6, 2015 –
46.0% "Elsa remembers how Granny said that "the best stories are never completely realistic and never entirely made-up." That was what Granny meant when she called certain things "reality-challenged." To Granny, there was nothing that was entirely one thing or another. Stories were completely for real and at the same time not."
August 7, 2015 –
53.0% "It's strange how quickly the significance of a certain smell can change, depending on what path it decides to take through the brain. It's strange how close love and fear live to each other."
August 7, 2015 –
61.0% "She runs until the wind scrapes her eyes like nails against a frosty windshield. (Great descriptive writing!)"
August 7, 2015 –
100.0% "one of the nicest, most enjoyable reading experiences I've had certainly this year. wonderful combination of ya, fantasy, fable, mixed with coming of age and probably other things I'm missing right now. something here for everyone to relate to on some level."
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
August 8, 2015 – Finished Reading
August 16, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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Margitte I actually marked this book for reading. You are the second reader who liked it and I think it is time to get hold of it.


message 2: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Another definite recommendation, Margitte. When I read Michael's review I knew I had to read this and I'm so glad I did. I have been on a bit of a roll lately with good books. And this has the added benefit of being new and different.


Esil Great review Sue. I also really liked this book


message 4: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Thanks Esil. Isn't it nice to find books that are different.


Margitte I finished reading the book. One of the highlights of this year, for sure, Sue.


message 6: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I'm so glad you liked it too, Margitte. It's so different in a wonderful way.


cameron Love loved it.


Seemita You nail it, Sue! An endearing round-up of what to expect from this story. And like me, I see you couldn't resist the temptation to substantiate Elsa and Granny with necessary brackets ;)


message 9: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Seemita wrote: "You nail it, Sue! An endearing round-up of what to expect from this story. And like me, I see you couldn't resist the temptation to substantiate Elsa and Granny with necessary brackets ;)"

Thanks Seemita. The more I think about this book, the more positive I feel about the characters and the writing. It was a surprise of the first order.


Barbara This is a wonderful author. I have already read 2 of his books.


message 11: by Sue (last edited Sep 19, 2016 08:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Barbara wrote: "This is a wonderful author. I have already read 2 of his books."

Me too, Barbara. I still want to get to A Man Called Ove. And I will read whatever comes next too.


Margitte This was a beautiful review for this book, Sue. This author writes the kind of book that just have to be listed as favorites. Deeply touching.


message 13: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Margitte wrote: "This was a beautiful review for this book, Sue. This author writes the kind of book that just have to be listed as favorites. Deeply touching."

Thank you Margitte. I realize that the further I am removed from the book, the warmer the glow is around it. Backman has an amazing talent for drawing the reader in amd making you care about his people.


Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters Your review is wonderful, Sue!!
Its funny --the last few days --books read a few years ago --keep popping up -- but that's ok.............they are 'good' books...
great to think about again!


message 15: by Nisa (last edited Apr 10, 2018 09:44PM) (new) - added it

Nisa Great review, Sue. Now, I'm curious about it.


message 16: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Thanks Elyse. It's funny how reviews pop up from time to time. Backman's books bring such good feelings back. I think I should have rated this and Britt Marie Was Here higher as my memories of reading both are so positive.


message 17: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Thanks Nisa.


Barbara Your review was very good, Sue. Personally, I do not think Bachmann has achieved the great reading and good feeling as in A Man Called Ove . As you may remember, I don't usually enjoy books involving fantasy.


message 19: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Barbara wrote: "Your review was very good, Sue. Personally, I do not think Bachmann has achieved the great reading and good feeling as in A Man Called Ove . As you may remember, I don't usually enj..."

I do remember that, Barbara. It's funny that, for me, unlike for about everyone else, A Man Called Ove (which I read later) was less successful perhaps because that magical bit was missing. But I thought Beartown was excellent and that was quite different.


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