It didn’t take me too long to find my new favorite reading spot at our new house. All I need is a blanket, San Pellegrino, and the shade of the apricot tree and I am ready to go. Oh, and a book. That’s pretty important, too.
So this month’s book….
The set-up of this book has all of the ingredients of a book that would make it to my most prominent shelf on my bookshelf; the one that is at Blondie eye level where other favorites such as Pride & Prejudice or The Rosie Project or Rules of Civility sit. That is how I arrange my books, with my favorites sitting at eye level and then fanning out from there. (Don’t be alarmed by The Sorcerer’s Stone sitting on the bottom shelf, though, that often contains favorites too, but the heavy series of books or large art books go there). My system is complicated, but back to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman. I will admit, this book took me a minute to get in to.
This isn’t because I didn’t fall in love with the quirky old grandmother or scrappy young Elsa. In the first few chapters I was sucked into their enviable relationship. It brought back memories of my own grandmother who passed a few years ago and how much of a straight shooter she was, just like Elsa’s grandmother. Granted, we never got arrested together and she wasn’t much of a prankster, but you could count on her to be frank.
What I had a hard time with was the jumping back and forth between the stories from The Land of Almost Awake and Elsa’s real world. I felt like I needed to keep all the characters from the Land of Almost Awake straight and there are a lot of characters in both worlds. When it became futile, I just pushed through and focused on Elsa’s storyline and if you are feeling the same way, I recommend you do it, too, because this is a lovely story.
Elsa’s transition from worshipping her grandmother to realizing she was human and eventually loving her more for it, was both beautiful and heartbreaking. We can all relate to those moments, when someone falls of their pedestal and our view of them starts to shift. For Elsa, the journey her grandmother sends her on to apologize to those she feels she has wronged, forces Elsa’s make believe world to collide with reality and turns this into a sort of coming of age tale.
I read through this one the plane and then listened to it later in order to review it for this post and I must say the listen through pulled out some incredible quotes I managed to miss while reading. These are my favorites:
“Mom put her hand on Elsa’s hand and inhales deeply from the point where they’re touching, as if trying to fill her lungs with Elsa, as mom’s do with daughters who grow up too fast.”
“Only different people change the world…no one normal ever changed a crapping thing”
“Nothings scares idiots more than a smart girl”
My daughter is six and in this story Elsa is seven. I read because I like to be inspired by the stories and to pull out a lesson that I can apply to my own life. The lesson I learned from My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She is Sorry, is to hold my daughters a little closer. To celebrate how unique they both are and to nurture their uniqueness. To always be their number one champion and trust that some day, on that inevitable day when they find out all of my faults, they will forgive me and love me just the same.
If you haven’t yet, you should read this book. If you have, what did you think?
P.S. Ginger picked out the book for July! It’s The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. Pick it up and read along with us!