When I’m travelling I really enjoy reading a book by a local author. In Bergen, I decided to buy my Christmas reads ahead of time and one of the books was ‘My grandmother sends her regards and apologises’ by Fredrik Backman. If you have already read ‘A man called Ove’ then you’ll understand why I was attracted to this book.
We follow Elsa on her mission passed on to her by her Granny who dies the next day. There is clearly a wonderful interaction between Elsa and her Granny from the beginning and it is also clear from the start that in her eccentric ways, Granny will have upset many people through the years. Elsa therefore has to pass on letters to their recipients by following a set of clues and throughout the journey we meet new characters who have their own issues.
Backman is certainly talented in pulling us into people’s lives, firstly showing us their worst sides and then bit by bit letting us see the reasons behind their rude exteriors. With each character, we find ourselves developing a new sense of respect and interest in them and their successes as they change their lives throughout the story. Of course, we see this all through Elsa’s eyes and it is certainly fun following a 7 year old through her daily struggles at school and home. We also accompany her through her grief at losing her Granny which is a theme which no doubt effects every reader.
Make sure you have tissues close by before you set off on this journey with Elsa as you will certainly travel through a variety of emotions. Here’s a taster of what pulled me in:
‘Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact.’
How could you not love this book?