My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

25814222.jpg★★★★★
Pages: 370 Pages
Publication: September 4th, 2013
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Summary:

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Thoughts:

I want to firstly thank Washington Square Press for sending me a copy of this to read and review as a part of the BookTube tours!

This book is honestly something else. I was expecting some lighthearted quick read about a little girl going on a mission after the death of her grandmother but I was given something so different and even better than I could have expected.

So to start, this book follows a girl named Elsa and her best and only friend in the entire world is her Grandmother. Her Grandmother has always told her these fairytales about the world of the Land of Almost Awake and when her grandmother dies in the beginning she sends Elsa on a quest where she finds out that maybe everything her grandmother told her has been true.

The thing I love about this book is the way you learn in it. Elsa is only 8 years old, so while she is a very smart 8 year old, she doesn’t know a lot of things. So this book is a journey. Eventually it all comes completely full circle and I think the way it was done was so so so well handled.
I loved the inclusion of the fairytale land in this story. While I think the story itself packs a really intense emotional punch and covers so many important topics, ranging from the relationship between a parent and a child, but also the bond that a grandparent has with a grandchild, there was really no need to add the fairytale element. This story could have been told without it and I am SO glad it wasn’t. I just adored the fairytale element and the way that the story incorporated it into the “real world.” It gave a sense of magical realism to this story that I think was the nice comedic relief that the story needed.

However, while I loved the plot the characters really are what made this book for me.

I loved them all (all except 2 actually but I won’t get into them, they’re obvious when you read it). They were all so complex and distinct and done so in a way that only a child could have made distinct. The book is written by an adult, but he writes the mind of children so well. I felt like I was seeing the world and learning about the world honestly through a children’s eye. She sees people and described people in a way that I felt on a child could have. In that regards this book was really really well done. The adults were really realistic and flawed in a way that I found beautiful, being criticized the way only a child could criticize. Each adult was distinct with their own personality and every character is important in this story, it leaves no one behind. It’s like a really confusing family drama because of the setting of this story.

I will probably expand on specific examples and instances in the book about the certain things I liked in my YouTube review, so make sure you go to the bottom of my page and find my channel to see it. But I think this was a good explanation  of what I loved about this book. As for dislikes, there were none! So I honestly recommend this because it was such a heartbreaking book but done so in a really heartwarming way!

Abandon all hope ye who enter here

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I was going to do a post like this. I always feel like I need to be some outgoing cheerful person when it comes to the book community, but I feel like this is something that I need to say, but also something that really needs to be said.

For the last 3 months, I have been battling a very deep depression. It started out pretty small from June and July but hit a very high peak in August. Most of it is work related, the fact that I have graduated University with a degree in humanities and have no skills is making finding a job completely impossible. But it’s more than that causing this. The peak I hit this month has to do with a boy. I don’t think I want to get into details, but long story short we had a very intense but short relationship and the end of it hit me hard. We were at two places in our lives and could not make it work. But that kind of brings me to the full reason for this depression which is I look at all the people around me and I see people with a purpose. People have careers, they’re in stable relationships, they’re living a life of contentment and, for some, even happiness. They may not have all they want, and they may be struggling, but they’re doing something for themselves. They have a trajectory for their lives; meanwhile I feel like I’m doing nothing, with no prospects to do anything, and I feel like all I’m doing it wasting space. And I don’t mean that in any sort of self harm/suicidal way, but I’m not contributing to the world. I’m not putting anything into it. And this is making things very hard for me. I want more than anything to be a self reliant person who supports themself, but instead I live at home and continue to rely on the support of other people. It’s making me feel like a drain on other people and is severely damaging the way I feel about myself.

To be honest though, that’s all background information. While I think that how I am feeling and what I am dealing with is important, that’s not what I aimed to do with this post. What I aimed to do with this post is to ask the question: why the hell did no one warn me this was coming? I have many friends who are in their late 20s and 30s who fall into the category I mentioned earlier, those who know where their life is headed. Not one of them warned me about this mid 20s crisis. And I figured at first “okay… maybe I’m the only one?” but no. After talking to most of the people I know, they all said they went through the same thing. So that brings me back to my question, why didn’t anyone tell me to expect this? Yes, a lot of people told me getting a job with a History degree would be impossible, but no one prepared me even remotely close to what was coming when I graduated University. No one told me that I would have a period in my life where I didn’t know what my purpose was, what I wanted, or even where I wanted to live? People who graduate High School complain that they need to decide “the rest of their life” when they pick a college, but really they have nothing to worry about because those decisions come after University. I’m 23 now, I need to decide what career path I want to take (assuming I can even get hired), and I need to decide where in the world I want to do it, and I even am facing the problem of having to decide if my friendships are worth keeping. I’m realistic enough to know that if I take a job now in a certain city, I will likely get stuck there for the rest of my life. And that’s okay, but that’s a huge decision to make, and no one warned me it was coming.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to be coddled. I know that life is a bitch and you just gotta deal with it, but a little heads up would have been nice?  There is a very vocal generation that talks about the state of jobs in the world and there is an incredibly vocal generation that discusses the many things people my age are facing, but no one REALLY tells you what it’s like to be in this situation. I didn’t join extra curricular activities in University. I also didn’t do any internships. I did what I needed to do to get my degree and I left, and because of that I am struggling. No one told me that the only way to get a job is by having contacts, and that the contacts would be made in University. There are so many things I would have done differently had I known this was coming. But no one talks about it. Why? I assume competition. But we are all, or most of us, dealing with the same things, we should help each other when we can.

What I’m trying to say with this entire ramble discussion is that I’m not okay, I will be eventually, but I’m not right now, and that I’m struggling to find my place in a world that has left me completely unprepared for this period in my life and a world that has left me feeling incredibly alone in the challenges I am facing.