My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's not just the story. It's the way it is written which is very odd since the author is Swedish. I think. However the translation took place, it is perfect. Just to be very clear, I read A Man Called Ove. Once again, the story was one part of the enjoyment but it was the writing, the character development, the timing that grabbed me. This one is just like that one only a different story, different characters, yet a similar struggle.
This one opens with Elsa and her grandmother at the police station. It has been many months since I read this book so I won't be able to quote verbatim, but it went a lot like this (with better wording and delivery). Elsa is lonely at school and at home but her grandmother is her best friend. Her grandmother is definitely not the maternal type. Elsa is feeling a little down and somehow contacts her grandmother who breaks out of the hospital where she is (reasons are later revealed) and they are arrested by the police for breaking into a zoo and throwing animal poop. At people, as I recall. Elsa's grandmother is now looking for a way to open the barred windows and smoke a cigarette. She taps one out and turns to Elsa, "Do you have a lighter?"
"I'm seven," Elsa replies.
"When are you going to stop using that as an excuse?" Elsa's grandmother replies in a surly fashion.
And that is the way the story continues to be told. In unexpected character development. Elsa's grandmother is actually very ill yet retains her surliness, much to my delight. As revealed in the description, Elsa's grandmother dies but leaves Elsa a mission to accomplish. Elsa must deliver a number of letters to people and monsters that would otherwise frighten Elsa. As she encounters the new characters, she also recalls the fairy tales her grandmother told her and an entirely different person emerges that was her grandmother.
I loved it so very much. I want to read it again.