3.5 out of 4 stars.
A version of Rohl Dahl’s “The BFG” for adults.
Elsa is a 7-year-old girl who is not used to an easy life. She gets beat up at school for being different, her best friend is her grandmother and she just recently passed away, and her mother is having a baby with her stepfather so she is no longer an only child. A lot to take in when you are not even in double digits yet. The only thing keeping her afloat is that her grandmother left behind a series of clues to lead her on an adventure to find clarity. The notes will lead her through the City of Miamas, a land that Elsa and her grandmother frequented often because it allowed one to be who they are without reservation. In actuality, the letters left behind are introductions to the people living in the same apartment complex as Elsa and “friends” that her grandmother has met in the past. This band of misfits that are introduced are quite an interesting gang.
If the above sounds like not your cup of tea because it is a little out there, I agree, I was totally caught off guard myself and was hesitant to keep reading. I hardly ever read anything the lines of fantasy and most likely wouldn’t have picked this one up if I knew that it was going to contain a magical world. However, I loved “A Man Called Ove” and wanted to read something else by Fredrik Backman. It was intriguing to me to read works by a Swedish author and see if the voice and writing style changed. What I have gathered (and not sure if it is just Backman) but the Swedish seem to be very playful but have a dry undertone. This was true with Ove in a “A Man Called Ove” and evident with Elsa’s dark side of glum at the almost age of 8. It makes for a lovely combination because it is approachable but also realistic with its insights.
As mentioned earlier, I received a vibe while reading “My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry” of a young adult book similar to the magic of Dahl. I love the parallel lines of fantasy and reality. In this case, Backman presented the reader with a lesson of individuality and finding independence on one’s own. The lessons seem simple enough but I highly doubt there are many adults out there that could not use a refresher of life’s easy messages.
After finishing this, I know why I don’t naturally gravitate to Fantasy on a regular basis but it was 100 percent refreshing and joyful to read, especially during the summer. I recommend giving it a try in the sheer reason that it would be something unique and different than the usual books out there. Also, not to mention, I bet most book readers have grown up feeling like they are a little different at times, so pay some homage to your past self!