A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman was one of my favourite reads of 2018. But it has taken until now for me to read another of his books. My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises is a quirky, humorous and moving book about love, friendship and grief.
Elsa is seven. But she’s not very good at being seven. Luckily her beloved Granny isn’t very good at being 77 either. Granny is Elsa’s only friend and she is a superhero. Granny’s superpower is telling stories. Every night, when Elsa goes to sleep, she drifts off into the fairytale world Granny has created – the Land-of-Almost-Awake.
Elsa is different. Highly intelligent and imaginative, she doesn’t fit in at school. She loves her mum, but prefers her Granny. She desperately wants to dislike her stepfather, George, but being nice is his superpower. And she is jealous of her unborn sibling, because she she knows her mum and George will like the baby more than they like her. But none of this matters while she has Granny.
Then Granny sets Elsa her own superhero mission – to deliver letters to some special people. These are all people that Granny has wronged in her life and Elsa needs to track them down. In delivering the letters, Elsa discovers friendship – and that maybe fairytales are real after all…
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises is a wonderful book, effortlessly combining Granny’s complex fairytale world with real life. It has a cast of quirky and entertaining characters, who all live in the same block of flats as Elsa and her family. As a parent, you have to suspend your disbelief at just how much freedom a 7-year-old has – and how unaware her mum is that Elsa has sneaked out of the flat in the middle of the night or escaped from school to go to a different part of town.
Although a very funny read, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises also had me in tears a few times. It is a bit different and just the sort of book I would recommend for the strange times we are living through now. I loved it so much that I went straight on to read Fredrik Backman’s next book – Britt-Marie was Here, which features on the key characters from My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises.
Although a book for adults, this would be a suitable read for anyone from the age of 12 or 13. I am going to be adding it to my daughter’s ever-growing pile of books to read.