My Grandmother Sends Her Regards & Apologises
By Fredrik Backman
Published by Sceptre Books (4 June 2015)
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 runs to her grandmother's stories, to the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. There. everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
So when Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologising to people she has hurt, it marks the beginning of Elsa's greatest adventure. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attach dogs, and totally ordinary old crones - but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards & Apologises is a tale of grief, love, fairytale stories and make believe. It's the story of a tight bond between a young girl (precocious seven-year-old Elsa) and her nutty grandmother - and what happens when Elsa's grandmother dies.
Elsa's grandmother has always told her stories of mythical creatures, heroes and villains, dragons and princesses - a whole new world for Elsa to discover simply by using her imagination. When her grandmother dies, Elsa embarks on a treasure hunt to deliver letters from her grandmother to the intended recipients. Along the way, she meets a range of bizarre people and learns more about her grandmother's past. All of the characters are intriguing and bring the story to life.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards & Apologises is also a story of growing up. Elsa is already wise beyond her years (she seems more like a 10-year-old rather than a seven-year-old), but there are always things for a child to learn in an adult world. It's also a book about saying 'sorry' - atoning for past mistakes.
At times I did get a bit confused with all the fairytale kingdoms, which have quite similar-sounding names. Yet this was a highly compelling read and it was easy to lose myself in the story. I can see this could be a 'Marmite' book - you'll either love it or hate it - but I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes quirky stories. Underneath the surface, there's a deeper story too - you'll just have to read the book to find it, as I don't like to give too much away in my reviews.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher through Bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.