Seemita's Reviews > My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman
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bookshelves: fiction, humor, sweden, other-awards-w, translated, bildungsroman, culture, toi

[Originally appeared here (with edits): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]

Ah! What have I read here? A delightful take on life? A sensitive take on grief? A wise take on relationships? Perhaps all of it. And more.

At the centre of this book, is an almost-eight-years old, Elsa. When her best (and quirky) friend, her grandmother, leaves her a series of letters upon her death to be delivered to their intended receivers, she sets onto a thrilling journey of discoveries. What was the primary purpose of the letters you ask? You guessed it. To say sorry.

Among Elsa's neighbours are eccentric chatterboxes and drunken workaholics, weird hounds and mysterious lurkers. Her mother is her punch-bag over teen issues (if Elsa can be called a teen that is) and her Dad is her word collector who can stand everything except a grammatically incorrect sentence. Well, mostly.

Wading through this motley hoard of people, Elsa embarks on a voyage of her own, fumbling on realities at every step and growing wiser with every revelation. Reading quality literature like the Harry Potter series comes handy. And so does listening to (and reminiscing) Granny's fairy tales. After all, she is the Knight in the Land-of-Almost-Awake!

Backman’s heart-warming army conquered me in no time. He possesses a deceptively easy style of narration but one is taken aback by the substance he packs in his one-liners.
Never mess with someone who has more spare time than you do.
Its strange how close love and fear live to each other.
It appears as if Backman leaned on many a poles and watched people battle their demons in routine life - just how some transformed into the fiercest warriors under chaotic spells but were sorely defeated by the toothless, simple, predictable plateau of life. And why everyone, irrespective of their positions on the axis of life, needed attention.
We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs, we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum.
The strength of Backman's narrative rests on his seamless switching between hilarity and sombreness, keeping the sensibilities of his characters away from dilution. So when a child and a war soldier look at the same issue and engage in a long discussion, their respective identities and backgrounds stand beside them like faithful sentries. That both can still reach a common ground is the beauty of this book.

This work is a magnificent ode to humanity and the many virtues that guard it from losing its sheen. It's a subtle but strong call to dream, to imagine, to protect, to persevere, to sing, to dance, to fly, to fall yet to stand, to encourage, to fight for the right cause, to love, to forgive; in other words, to live. Nothing is a shame, even believing in superheroes, if it eventually adds up to the good in this world.
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Reading Progress

July 11, 2016 – Started Reading
July 18, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 3, 2016 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)

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message 1: by Dolors (new)

Dolors This review brims over with vitality and with hopeful expectations, Seemita. Growing up is no easy thing and getting glimpses of the dark side of reality can dampen the magic innocence that surrounds childhood. Tenderness, depth and the power of imagination dance at the tune of your words and keep the flame of dreams alive even in hearts past the prime of their days of dreaming... What a joy it is to join the chorus of your leading voice, so attuned, so harmonious, so alive!


Michael Bravo for pinning down the magic nehind this book. Something that comes off as effortless and entertaining, hiding the artistry you capture so well.


Algernon (Darth Anyan) I am glad to know that Backman has more than one story to tell. I loved Ove, but I am glad to find out now I have this to look forward to.
Thanks!


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

Sue A resounding Yes to your wonderful review!


message 5: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue And I recommend Britt-Marie Was Here, also by Backman.


message 6: by Pearl (new)

Pearl Angeli Terrific job on your review, Seemita! xx


message 7: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King Seemita, And your final paragraph said it all!


Seemita Jean-Paul wrote: "Delightful review Seemita. I love your closing paragraph. Lisa, in her recent review pleads in favour of women writers and women's rights and you for believing in whatever one chooses, if it adds u..."

Thank you, JP. We cannot stress more on the role each individual must play in these turbulent times to steer the world towards a harmonious environment. It's a pity we often forget the basic fabric of love, forgiveness and compassion that holds us from falling apart. Its time we uphold it even tighter.


message 9: by Tsung (new)

Tsung I'm fascinated by your description of Backman's style. And such a wonderful final paragraph Seemita. We can all be superheroes too!


message 10: by Sumati (new)

Sumati Fabulous review!! I have been wanting to read this book but came across such mixed reviews....your review is very promising...


Seemita Dolors wrote: "This review brims over with vitality and with hopeful expectations, Seemita. Growing up is no easy thing and getting glimpses of the dark side of reality can dampen the magic innocence that surroun..."

Thank you, my dear! This book was such a pleasure to read; a delightful walk down the lane when innocence was a pride we wore unabashedly on our sleeves. Backman doesn't dilute that part of our characters at all, albeit places the nuances (and perplexities) of adulthood furtively next to it. And then he leaves the stage open for the us, readers, to see and infer the interactions between emotions from either side. Ah! A lovely tale that I am glad I could read and share my thoughts on, with you :)


Seemita Michael wrote: "Bravo for pinning down the magic nehind this book. Something that comes off as effortless and entertaining, hiding the artistry you capture so well."

Thanks for the pat, Michael! I suppose I belong to the Kingdom of Miamas in Granny's world :)


Seemita Algernon wrote: "I am glad to know that Backman has more than one story to tell. I loved Ove, but I am glad to find out now I have this to look forward to.
Thanks!"


My pleasure, Algernon! I am yet to read AMCO fully but having flipped through some of its pages, know that there is treat in wait. Hope you enjoy Elsa's company as much as you did Ove's :)


Seemita Marita wrote: "Your review is delightful, Seemita. It is filled with joy and vitality."

Many thanks, Marita! The book is replete with the same sentiments :)


Seemita Sue wrote: "A resounding Yes to your wonderful review! And I recommend Britt-Marie Was Here, also by Backman."

Thank you, Sue! I have marked BWH; thanks for the reco. A little excerpt from it was there in my copy and it certainly whet my appetite! Your 4-stars further make the prospect, appealing :)


Seemita Pearl wrote: "Terrific job on your review, Seemita! xx"

Thank you very much, Pearl! :)


Seemita Lynne wrote: "Seemita, And your final paragraph said it all!"

Thanks dear Lynne! The book drives us towards all bumpy but good :)


Seemita Tsung Wei wrote: "I'm fascinated by your description of Backman's style. And such a wonderful final paragraph Seemita. We can all be superheroes too!"

Thank you, Tsung! Backman has an enviable style, as far as I am concerned. Being effortlessly humorous in language isn't everyone's cup of tea and I, for one, haven't come across many with that skill. And having the ability to discharge meaningful thoughts alongside, is quite definitely a plus! Superheroes or not, this book inspires us to be one :)


Seemita Sumati wrote: "Fabulous review!! I have been wanting to read this book but came across such mixed reviews....your review is very promising..."

Thanks a bunch, Sumati! :) I am not sure what might have been off-putting to people with lukewarm response; a comparison with Bakcman's earlier book perhaps? But in my view, this is a wonderful amalgamation of childhood and adulthood, keeping the sweetness and spice of both alive, and addressing the bitter part with an endearing sensitivity. I hope you like it when you get it it.


message 20: by Helle (new)

Helle Superb review, Seemita, which tells me that I need to give this Backman fellow a chance - despite having seen his books everywhere in Danish bookshops (he is after all a Swede and thus almost a Dane :-)), which tends to make me give an author a wide berth. But I absolutely trust your judgment on this, and I applaud you for giving us such a vivacious and lively review - loved it!


Seemita Helle wrote: "Superb review, Seemita, which tells me that I need to give this Backman fellow a chance - despite having seen his books everywhere in Danish bookshops (he is after all a Swede and thus almost a Dan..."

Well, this Backman fellow surely can be given a chance! Without making slapstick or going overboard, he releases wafts of humor during his gentle prodding of life and us, its caretakers. Let's say he might be a distant cousin of Willy Wonka! :D I will be keen to see how you response to him. And my dear, Helle! Its good to hear from you :)


message 22: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Great quote on our need not to be regarded at with an indifferent eye, Seemita. That last para of your fabulous write-up once again sold me, encompassing such beautiful expressions of the delight of being alive - and like Helle, I put my trust in your judgment and add this to the list :).


Seemita Ilse wrote: "Great quote on our need not to be regarded at with an indifferent eye, Seemita. That last para of your fabulous write-up once again sold me, encompassing such beautiful expressions of the delight o..."

Thank you, dear Ilse! It indeed fills me with joy to see you back :) And am being a little gladder by the wonderful coincidence of serving this review at this time. Being alive despite our rising or falling heartbeats is what this book champions. And what better eye than yours to capture its essence in the most incredible manner? Whenever you give it a read, I will pause (a little longer) at your page.


Laysee Brilliant review, Seemita. Love what you said about Backman's effortless narrative style that carries substance. Your last two paragraphs are especially insightful.


Seemita Laysee wrote: "Brilliant review, Seemita. Love what you said about Backman's effortless narrative style that carries substance. Your last two paragraphs are especially insightful."

Thank you, Laysee. Since you have met Backman's absolutely endearing characters, it would suffice to say that even his fiction, in wake of his careful narrative, resembles facts of life. I am looking forward to reading more of him. I was recommended Britt-Marie Was Here . Have you read this?


Laysee Seemita, I look forward to reading "Britt-Marie Was Here". Think Backman will pick up her story from where he left off in Granny's book.


Seemita Laysee wrote: "Seemita, I look forward to reading "Britt-Marie Was Here". Think Backman will pick up her story from where he left off in Granny's book."

It certainly seems so! Hope to cross paths with you again, with Backman waiting at the crossroads :)


message 28: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Ah, what have you brought us here? Beautiful distillation of innocence, that's what you've uncovered. What a breath of fresh air, this addition to the world of literature. And as usual, you seem to be having a great adventure withTimes, Seemita. Keep on discovering my friend...


Seemita Cheryl wrote: "Ah, what have you brought us here? Beautiful distillation of innocence, that's what you've uncovered. What a breath of fresh air, this addition to the world of literature. And as usual, you seem to..."

Thank you dearie :) This was indeed like a breath of fresh air amid all the density I try to wade in usually! Backman's delightful yet gently prodding voice did its trick of keeping me hooked. And I guess I will be with TOI till the time they can bear my idiosyncratic schedule and writing ;) Your support is much treasured.


message 30: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 29, 2016 06:22AM) (new)

Feisty and uplifting review, Seemita. Your lyricism channels in the most vivid hues and delightful notes eradicating every sepia mark and cacophony of this rather crude autumnal evening of mine. Thank you!


Seemita Waqas wrote: "Feisty and uplifting review, Seemita. Your lyricism channels in the most vivid hues and delightful notes eradicating every sepia mark and cacophony of this rather crude autumnal evening of mine. Th..."

And your comment belongs to the same musical lanes of contemplation and discoveries, Waqas! Thank you for reading and appreciating the uplifting aspect of this book; it is precisely that.


message 32: by Gautam (new)

Gautam Great review, Seemita! I'm glad that I got introduced to this book I never knew existed through your witty and smart review. :)


Seemita Gautam wrote: "Great review, Seemita! I'm glad that I got introduced to this book I never knew existed through your witty and smart review. :)"

Backman is a talented writer, Gautam. His wise prose, intermingling with generous doses of humor, make the proposition of walking in his world, meritorious. And like a teacher who knowingly commits a whole lot of clumsy mistakes to make his students comfortable, he deploys healthy shots of self-criticism to drive home his point. A wonderful author worth a try.


message 34: by Gautam (new)

Gautam You convinced me beyond doubt, Seemita :)


Seemita Gautam wrote: "You convinced me beyond doubt, Seemita :)"

Good to know that! :)


message 36: by Lizzy (new) - added it

Lizzy Wonderful review of what seems a great book, dear Seemita. It is already in my to-read list, but now I am more confident about it. Thanks, L.


Seemita Lizzy wrote: "Wonderful review of what seems a great book, dear Seemita. It is already in my to-read list, but now I am more confident about it. Thanks, L."

Lovely to know about your enthusiasm for this book, Lizzy! I loved Backman's plot and prose; a rare combination that also makes light of life's problems in favour of human spirit. I hope you like meeting Elsa and her granny and come back with loads of good memories :)


Elyse Walters Soooo sweet the way you write about this book!!! I loved it Seemita.... (shhh)... I cried a little too! Me... and these FAMILY stories just get to me!!!
And BOY ... YOUR review is soo insightful!! Thank you!! Xo


Seemita Elyse wrote: "Soooo sweet the way you write about this book!!! I loved it Seemita.... (shhh)... I cried a little too! Me... and these FAMILY stories just get to me!!!
And BOY ... YOUR review is soo insightful!! ..."


It is an adorable story, isn't it, Elyse? Glad you thought so too! Thank you so much for dropping in your lovely, enthusiastic thought, my friend. Hope all is good with you and your family.

P.S. Crying over good things is always allowed :)


message 40: by Ray (new)

Ray Great review as ever Seemita. The last paragraph in particular is superb, a succinct ode to life. I have "ove" on my to read shelf, looks as if it will be promoted to next read


Seemita Ray wrote: "Great review as ever Seemita. The last paragraph in particular is superb, a succinct ode to life. I have "ove" on my to read shelf, looks as if it will be promoted to next read"

Thank you so much, Ray! Yes, I have heard of the adorable Ove and I have been keeping him waiting for an, especially, uneasy day when a little cantankerous humor would be my medicine :)


Renégade ♥ So when a child and a war soldier look at the same issue and engage in a long discussion, their respective identities and backgrounds stand beside them like faithful sentries. That both can still reach a common ground is the beauty of this book.

Well said. *smile*

Wonderful review, Seemita 🙂


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