Amelia'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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's review
Jan 25, 2016

liked it

I really wanted to like this book. There were so many things in it that should have made it great, but in the end a few things irritated me so much that I wound up not really enjoying it.

First of all, this is one of those books that I can't remember why I picked it up, and I put it on e-book-loan reserve at the library so when my turn came around I felt like I had to read it fast. I wasn't feeling great, so in a way it was perfect sick-day reading, but I started in without remembering that this is a Swedish book in translation, so I wasn't sure where the characters were (at first, I did figure it out later), and I found the present tense narration a bit off-putting.

The grandmother's character and the way she blends fantasy and reality were great, and I felt like the author did a great job with the other characters in the building, too. I felt slightly cheated that the fantasy world wound up having been built so completely on the foundations of the real-world relationships, though. The fantasy world started out feeling like it was its own reality, but that got eroded over the course of the book. Maybe this was intentional, but it didn't work for me.

What really didn't work for me, and what kept throwing me out of the story again and again, was the main character's age. She's supposed to be almost eight, and I have a just-turned-eight-year-old daughter. Now this character is supposed to be super smart, and she's Swedish, so maybe things are different there, but I found her just not at all believable as an eight-year-old. If she'd been a year or two older, I would not have had a problem with the idea that she'd read the entire Harry Potter series over a dozen times, but it's really a stretch at this age, just based on number of years she's been alive, even if she's supposed to be the smartest thing ever. Also, we never see her reading a book in the story (or watching X-Men. I was glad that I was up to speed on the X-Men, thanks to the kids), so the wide range of books she's read feels not quite believable.

Anyway, it all ends happily enough, maybe a bit sappy, but I just got thrown out of it by the age thing and never could quite get back into it.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Susanna (new)

Susanna Sturgis Long time ago a friend whose opinion I respected highly recommended a book, so I started reading. On the first page or not long after, the narrator related in present tense a vividly remembered scene from when she was two years old. I'm pretty good at suspending belief and disbelief, but that threw me so completely out of the book that after a few more pages I gave up. Evidently it didn't bother other people, but it sure did me. Maybe I should give it another try.

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