Fredrik Backman’s amazing comedic novel will touch your heart – all of your heart – with its honesty, warmth and pure, innocent love.
Seven year old Elsa has always felt peculiar, never fitting in with her peers yet preferring the company of her best (and only) friend in her grandmother; a seventy seven year old crazy woman with a wild and free spirit, refusing to sugar coat her opinions or justify her actions.
As far back as she can remember, Elsa’s grandmother has been telling her stories every day about the “Land of Almost Awake” with unforgettable, vibrant characters that are brave, strong and more than often also a bit scary. When she passes away one evening, she leaves Elsa with a box full of numbered letters to be delivered, thus sending the young girl on an adventure. Each letter sends her in the path of seemingly odd and brilliant drunks, protective monsters, loyal attack dogs and the like. Brave Elsa slowly learns that the fairy tales her grandmother told her were more than just that, they were true stories of lonely misfits who are also viewed as “different”. She also learns about her grandmother’s live before she was born, her loves and adventures better than any fairy tale ever told.
Along this adventure, Elsa accepts herself and looks at those around her with new eyes. The maternal bond extends to her mother who has the last touching letter. The love between these women extends through to death and back again.
This story will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Life and death has never been celebrated more beautifully. The tears spilled into the last pages of my copy and I actually held the book to my heart when I finished, yet it was happy tears with a smile which I believe are the best kind.