Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am a HUGE fan of Fredrik Backman and his first novel, A Man Called Ove. I also read his second novel, My Grandmother Told Me to Say She's Sorry and I am still a fan. The author is Swedish and published the book in Swedish. I don't know how the translation worked but it is absolutely charming and still hilarious. The details make the book much more enjoyable.
Britt-Marie is a character from "My Grandmother..." Last we saw of her, she was driving off in a car. This is her story, continued. Britt-Marie has a story. Britt-Marie loves order. She loves cleanliness and rules. She hasn't done anything on her own in a very long time. She loves the solidity of having a husband to take care of her. But she left him.
Now Britt-Marie is in a different village. Not a town. Town is 12 miles that way. She is out of her element but seeking the rules to make sense of this new setting. So she goes to the store to buy window cleaner. A certain brand. She needs to clean her new surroundings. But there are problems with everything she does. Mostly in the form of children. Many of these children are so hungry for adult attention, Britt-Marie finds herself in the odd situation of Being in Charge of a Sports Team.
Over the course of the book, Britt-Marie maintains her personality but softens a bit towards those who don't always practice excellent social skills or hygiene. She finds an unlikely friend in an unsavory teenager who has an order to him that she admires. She finds another friend in a woman who seems to run the village. She likes to drink a lot and she's wheelchair bound. She is referred to as "Someone."
The story of Britt-Marie is a good one. We discover why Britt-Marie is the way she is and what happens in the village. But, once again, the enjoyment of Britt-Marie is the way the story is told. Fredrik Backman is a genius.