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My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

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A charming, warmhearted novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller A Man Called Ove.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers 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 instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

372 pages, Hardcover

First published September 4, 2013

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About the author

Fredrik Backman

31 books62.9k followers
Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World, his first work of non-fiction, will be released in the US in May 2019. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Twitter @BackmanLand or on Instagram @backmansk.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 28,456 reviews
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews33 followers
January 17, 2016
Brilliant... Fabulous!!!! Endearing!!! Insightful!!!!
Giggles.... Chuckles.... Tears.... Crying.... (sometimes all at the same time)!

Fredrik Beckman, author of "A Man Called Ove", does it again... manages not only to write a unique-charming-heartwarming novel....
but he has created extraordinary memorable characters, 'AGAIN'!!!

Elsa is the greatest combinations of both her parents, and grandparents, but mostly she is unique and different. Precocious, and lovable!

Grandmother is eccentric, a little nutty, a superhero.....both a sword and a shield. She is strong independent woman, who wants to say "I am sorry" to those she loves.

Trolls, dragons, kingdoms, magical treasures, Harry Potter, ice cream, cookies, beer, cinnamon buns, cloud animals, Star Wars, and more.....
The fairytales add to the enjoyment and depths of issues of the heart!

The issues at heart are family bonds, Family history, reflections of the past, life lessons, love, forgiveness, acceptance, laughter.

While reading this AMAZING GEM of a story...I often reflected back on my grandma Cookie!
After my dad died -when I was 4yrs old- (her son, Max, was only 34), ...she and I became exceptionally close. She died when I was 7. I may have only had those 3 special years with Granda Cookie.. but they were some of my best childhood memories.
After my first daughter was born... she, too, felt as though she knew her great- grandmother through stories I shared with her.
Later-- she wrote a paper about her -great grandmother- from our family history. I was touched beyond words.

This book is for ALL AGES!! I was so incredibly grateful to receive this book from the publisher, and Netgalley, because...I was hoping I could save myself some money.
However, the opposite has happened. I need to buy at least 3 copies, (physical books), to give as gifts. The first person I can't wait to share this book with is my oldest daughter. She's going to go nuts over it.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this!!!! I also suggest that if you are a grandparent...
Ask your grand child how much they know about you. Encourage them to ask questions about your personal life, so that they too can be future storytellers and keep memories alive.

Fairytales are not just for children!
Profile Image for Suzanne Ross.
122 reviews54 followers
June 25, 2015
This one didn't work for me. Too much story telling within the story. I found myself getting irritated with all of the names of the places in the Land of Almost Asleep. I appreciated the viewpoint of our precocious little protagonist at times, but most often found it frustrating. She could be so insightful about certain things, yet so obtuse in that we seemed to miss big chunks of the greater picture (or at least, I did). All of this sleeping in wardrobes and popping out to visit faraway lands left me thinking along the lines of 'The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe.' I guess I was hoping for another sweet read having just come off 'Ove', but this was not to be. There's much more I could say here, but why go on? There are more books to read!
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,286 reviews2,204 followers
April 29, 2015
4+ Stars

At the heart of the story is a seven year old girl without friends, an outsider in her school who is loved deeply by her cantankerous , seventy-seven year old grandmother. I was taken by Elsa and her grandmother from the very beginning. It's the story of the beautiful legacy that a grandmother leaves her granddaughter. Granny may seem crazy but she is such a very loving grandmother to Elsa that the things she does while they seem crazy , can be so easily forgiven by the reader once her story unfolds and you see what a good person and really a humanitarian she is .

Granny does all she can to help Elsa through a hard time . Her parents are divorced and her mother and new partner are expecting a baby but worst of all Elsa is having a rough time at school . She has no friends and is constantly bullied. Granny gives this lonely little girl the gift of love and friendship and teaches her to cope by giving her a fairytale world in the Land-of-Almost -Awake. It captivated me at first but then I couldn't keep up with the details of the characters and the rules of this complex kingdom. But at some point I understood better who these characters were and just went with the flow because what is divulged about Granny's past will make you love her in spite of everything .

There is a cast of characters living in the same apartment house and at first you think you know who they are , but then their complex stories and connections are told as the story progresses . The author has cleverly , actually very creatively, woven their stories together and we learn that they have more in common than the same address . Their stories will break your heart . I have to admit at times , I was not into the fairytale but once I got what the stories were really about , I saw it in a different light .

The precocious Elsa is definitely beyond her years but it was hard at times to believe that a 7 year old would be as wise and knowing about people as she was . She's so smart and astute that you sometimes forget she's only seven until we see the insecurities and vulnerabilities of a seven year old dealing with her parents' divorce, confronting grief and death and her anxiety over having a half brother or sister and fear that she won't be loved as much .

This may not be for everyone but if you loved A Man Called Ove , although a different story , you will find the same humanity here with imperfections, vulnerabilities and triumphs of spirit . This is about a little girl and fairytale but this is definitely a book for grownup kids .


Thank you Atria (Simon & Schuster) and Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,839 followers
April 4, 2018
I almost didn't give this book a star rating at all. As I listened to it I couldn't really figure out if I like it or not. It has shades of books I cannot stand and shades of books I love. In the end, I couldn't bring myself to leave the star rating blank, but I am not sure you can trust my experience to match the experience you might have.

I have loved the other Backman books I have read: A Man Called Ove and Beartown. Because of this I went into this with high expectations. While this has some similarities to A Man Called Ove, it is definitely a very different book. While Ove is a fairly straightforward story, this one ventured back and forth from reality to make believe that I found a little bit hard to stay interested in.

I mention make believe, and at times this book ventures into the realm of magical realism. Usually my experience with magical realism is a positive one, but I did not care for it much here. I think the reason might be that it frequently reminded me of Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which I didn't care for at all. So, if you are a fan of that book, you may enjoy this one, too.

I did like all the different characters and exploring all of their personalities. I think this is the biggest thing that carried over from Backman's other stories. Each person is a side story unto themselves and it is fun watching their tales all get woven together.

In the end, I cannot say for sure if I recommend this one or not. If you liked other Backman books, don't go in expecting the same. If you are a fan of fairy tales, you might like it. If you don't like odd stories that stray a bit from reality, this is not the book for you.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,633 followers
May 2, 2018
I love this authors books! And there was some Britt-Marie!! I know I spelled that wrong. I listened to the audio from the library instead of reading my books as I'm trying to beat the clock.

Hopefully I will come back around to all the books I'm reading at this time and do them justice!!

Absolutely loved it!

Happy Reading!!

Mel 🖤🐾🐺
Profile Image for Julie .
4,030 reviews58.9k followers
March 8, 2017
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman is a 2015 Atria publication.

I read “Britt-Marie was Here” a while back and really liked it. It was suggested to me several times that I should go back and read this book because Brit-Marie is a secondary character here and this book is a segue into BMWH.

I am glad I was gently nudged to read this book and I couldn’t have chosen a better time to read this one. After having read several books in a row with melancholy themes, this book brightened my mood significantly.

That is not to say this book is fluffy, because it’s not. There are plenty poignant and emotional moments expertly woven into this humorous and whimsical story which features a precocious seven -year old girl named Elsa.

Every seven -year old deserves a superhero.

For Elsa that is her seventy-seven year old grandmother who regales her with stories that become like a secret communication between them. Her grandmother always comes to defense, is always in her corner, something Elsa desperately needs because she is a little different. This, of course, sets her up for a great deal of bullying at school, and causes her mother a good deal of exasperation at times.

But, when her grandmother dies, Elsa is left to cope with her parent’s divorce, her mother’s pregnancy, and her issues at school without her staunch supporter. Elsa is not only sad, but is also angry that her grandmother has abandoned her.

But, via a series of apology letters her grandmother wrote to various people she felt she had wronged, Elsa is sent on an adventurous journey that will enlighten her, challenge her perception of her beloved grandmother, and change the dynamics of her relationship with her mother and other family members, opening a door towards forgiveness and acceptance.

Elsa stole my heart, as was intended. I enjoy seeing children portrayed as trailblazers in a way, because they refuse to give in to conformity. Elsa doesn’t do this as an intentional rebellion, though. She is who she is and her ‘crazy grandmother’ encourages her.

Elsa’s love of Wikipedia is hilarious at times, but it’s her fondness for Harry Potter books that was so telling. That she related to those characters, is a testament to how stories and books can offer relief and comfort, as well as influence and teach.

While the characters are quirky and eccentric, the story has a slightly sinister undertone, because Elsa is afraid of ‘The monster’ which is more than just a part of her imagination and fairytales.

But overall this is a story of family and its complexities and mysteries, the regrets and mistakes, and triumphs and sacrifices made over the course of a lifetime, atonement, understanding, forgiveness, and embracing individuality.

I was thoroughly entertained by this novel, and enjoyed experiencing the wealth of and range of emotions and it evoked. This is a delightful story, full of charm and hope!!
Profile Image for Bel Rodrigues.
Author 2 books19.3k followers
April 3, 2023
tem coisa que não se explica, porque muito se perde no caminho até chegar na conclusão. a relação avó-neta se encaixa nesse seleto grupo.

o que para muita gente pode ser uma leitura "cheia de coisa", pra mim foi como revisitar muitos dos melhores anos da minha vida, porque neles eu volto a passar tardes e noites na casa da minha vózinha, sem saber quando um assunto começava e outro terminava, rindo de qualquer coisa e criando um mundo nosso muito melhor do que aquele que já tínhamos. o que o autor consegue fazer em "minha avó pede desculpas" é especial por sua singularidade. vivo buscando alento nas leituras cujos avós são mais presentes, mas quase nunca vi uma boa representação dessa relação tão forte, pura e magnânima que é a da neta-avó — até ler esse livro.

recomendo para todo mundo, mas principalmente praqueles que, dia após dia, precisam lembrar de transformar a saudade em amor potencializado.

"com vovó tudo é uma caça ao tesouro. ela consegue transformar um estacionamento em montanhas mágicas e toalhas torcidas em dragões que precisam ser vencidos. e Elsa, sua neta, é sempre a heroína."
Profile Image for Susan Crowe.
810 reviews5 followers
September 8, 2015
Ok, after a good night sleep, I can tell how I feel about this book.
I don't think I've ever read a book that had me feeling so many emotions AT ONE TIME.
There were times I was LMAO with tears rolling down my face. Once, towards the end, I was sobbing so hard, I was afraid my husband would hear me in the next room.
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME book!!!!
Profile Image for Margitte.
1,164 reviews511 followers
September 23, 2015
Children's characters, such as Pippi Longstocking, and Sophie of Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder , comes to mind, reading this book.

Seven-year-old Elsa was a good combination of the two. Wild, naive, and philosophical. Precocious, brattish and different. Elsa knew very well what grown-ups meant when they described her as 'very grown-up for her age'. What they actually meant was 'she is massively annoying for her age', which they directed at her parents with strained smiles spread all over their faces. They treated her as though she was mentally impaired. All she did was correct their spelling, or something similar. What was so wrong with that, I beg you? She was not as thick as other seven-year-olds. Her extraordinary intelligence counted against her.

Her parents were divorced. They were both living in new blended families. Her mother was pregnant again with Halfie (half-sister or brother); George, the step-dad, could prepare eggs and jog, and loved wearing his jogging shorts over his leggings; Her dad lost touch with reality along time ago when he fell in love with fonts. The chances of him delivering any graphic designs on time is zero. The choice of fonts prevented him from finishing anything. Otherwise, he found happiness with Lizette and her two young children. Elsa felt threatened by the new baby, and lost in her dad's new life.

Her grandmother was a dysfunctional superhero in Elsa's world. A retired, 77-year-old doctor, who triggered the smoke-alarms at the airports with her smoking in the ladie's room with an open door; was asked to retire after refusing to stop smoking in the operating theater; spilled Fanta on Elsa's iPhone and tried to dry it out in the toaster; climb fences at the zoo in the middle of the night; threw policemen with turds; traveled all over the world to save lives when everyone else was rushing to get out and away from dire war situations.

Creating fairy tale-metaphors for little Elsa, was her grandmother's way of teaching the hard realities of life in story form to the little girl without friends. Nobody understood this bright child, not even the teachers and headmaster at school, where she was constantly bullied. Her busy parents did not know what was happening to her.

Granny knew, and taught Elsa how to handle it through the fairy tales. Elsa learnt to run. Run very fast. She learnt to observe everything. She learnt to read and write properly. Grandma expected of her to read books to her while grandma drove her ancient rusting Renault around town, without a driver's license. Grandma could not spell. Almost-eight-year-old Elsa constantly had to correct granny's writing for her! Elsa started correcting everyone's writing. Even the notices at restaurants. She had Granny, Harry Potter, Wikipedia and Google at her disposal to get what she wanted. The words she did not understand, was added to her dad's word jar.

Elsa was born on boxing day. Her story was a Christmas Story. And this tale, "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry", was also going to be one.
... 'Storytelling is the noblest profession of all. The currency there is imagination; instead of buying something with coins you buy it with a good story. Libraries aren’t known as libraries but as ‘banks’ and every fairy tale is worth a fortune.'
That was what grandma believed. Who was Elsa to disagree.
"A normal story can either be funny or sad or exciting or scary or dramatic or sentimental, but a Christmas tale has to be all those things.

“A Christmas tale has to be written with every pen you own,” Granny used to say. And they have to have happy endings, which is something that Elsa has decided completely on her own."
Granny's fairy tales from Miamas was fairly dramatic as a rule. Wars and storms an pursuits and intrigues and stuff, because that was the sort of action stories that Granny liked.

Grandma created different kingdoms in the Land-of-Almost-Awake:
Miploris. That’s where all the sorrow is stored. It means “I mourn.”
“And Mirevas?”
“I dream.”
“And Miaudacas?”
“I dare.”
“And Mimovas?”
“Dance. I dance.”
“Mibatalos—I fight."


But the unimaginable happened just before Christmas. Grandma died of cancer. Elsa lost her only friend. What was it about death that was so devastating?
"The mightiest power of death is not that it can make people die, but that it can make the people left behind want to stop living"…
However, grandma taught Elsa that life does not really end with the passing of a beloved.
"You never say good-bye in the Land-of-Almost-Awake. You just say “See you later.” It’s important to people in the Land-of-Almost-Awake that it should be this way, because they believe that nothing really ever completely dies. It just turns into a story, undergoes a little shift in grammar, changes tense from “now” to “then.”
She left a set of letters behind which would merged Elsa's two worlds. She would be introduced to the real people who were characters in the fairy tales, and who would open up a big world of possibilities to the seven-year-old heartbroken little girl.

All the people living in their big old building had a story to tell, relationships to explain, history to be completed, and a communal love for her grandma to be celebrated. The treasure hunt unleashed in the letters, would bring closure to everyone mentioned or addressed in the letters. They were cranky, quirky, mysterious, dysfunctional or simply strange. As each letter is delivered, more color, as well as a mysterious danger, is added to this Christmas tale.

Britt-Marie, one of the busybody neighbors who would have been a perfect murder victim in a Inspector Poirot murder mystery, had everyone up in arms with her nosy interference. But when she received her letter from grandma, she had an important lesson to teach to Elsa.
……We want to be loved,’ ” quotes Britt-Marie. “‘Failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. The soul abhors a vacuum. At all costs it longs for contact.’ ” ....

"I want someone to remember I existed. I want someone to know I was here.”
Grandma's letters turned the building and its inhabitants upside down. Life was changed for all of them.

I was bowled over when I discovered, after finishing the book, that it was written by the author of A Man Called Ove . Yes, I know I was a bit dimwitted. But just remember, it is every single person's undeniable right to make a fool of him/herself, and I am exercising that right by admitting this here! By saying this I admit being in total cohorts with Grandma in the story. I not only liked her; I recognized her as a soulmate!

Apart from that, the surprise was wonderful. A Man Called Ove was one of my all-time favorite books, still is. This book, with a quirky, lovable, eccentric, unique cast of characters; its cheeky sense of humor; social commentary and tongue in cheek approach to the absurdities of 'Society', combined with fairy tales in the Harry Potter zeitgeist, kept me cemented to the plot and pathos of an extraordinary as well as entertaining story, written by a highly talented author.

If you loved Ove, you might love shrewd, intelligent, wise, cranky, funny as hell Grandma too. You will recognize the humor and daring thoughts at play.

VERY IMPORTANT: You do need a sense of humor and a huge imagination to let this book work for you.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,775 followers
February 27, 2022
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Backman, and this book doesn’t disappoint. Typical mix of humor and sadness, flawed humans who find joy in an imperfect world and each other. For me, it hits close to home, as the main character, Elsa, reminds me of our girls, including the loss of my Mom at a young age. In her eyes, they hung the moon, and were capable of anything. And, if I could ask her today, she’d still say the same.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.6k followers
October 19, 2019
oh my goodness. what a cute story! backman is one of my all-time favourite authors, but i had no idea he could write something so adorable.

i will admit this took me a while to get into, but it was so worth it. because reading this book feels similar to making a new friend - by slowly getting to know them and then suddenly realising they have found their way into your heart. <3

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Christine.
590 reviews1,142 followers
October 23, 2019
I am probably the last Goodreads member to read a Fredrik Backman novel. I read two of his novellas, one of which I really liked and one that I didn’t. This novel, on the other hand, deserves lots and lots of love.

When I first got into this book, I connected quickly with Granny and almost 8-year-old Elsa. However, I was not at all keen about the fantasy arc. I figured no matter how good the rest of the book was, the fantasy aspect was going to be worth at least 2 negative stars. Since my cribbage/domino buddy lent it to me with eager anticipation of my opinion, I decided to carry on. Good thing I did because now I am excited to have four more Backman novels to look forward to.

Elsa is “different.” So is Granny (a major understatement). The book has been dinged by several reviewers as being unrealistic. Well, yeah, maybe, but sometimes that little sore point can be overlooked—like with this book. And I have to say, once it became clear the fantasy part plays a major role in understanding the whole meaning of Elsa’s journey, I decided to change my crappy attitude and go all in. By that point I even thought it might be possible for the tale to wring 4 stars out of me. The plot is unique and really quite profound. Elsa is sent on a “treasure hunt” by her grandmother that requires Elsa to meet everyone in their apartment building. There are specific reasons for Granny to do this. The task is not easy for Elsa, but it turns out to be seriously rewarding. The characters are diverse, very sympathetic, and memorable. I love these books about elderly people and their effect on young children who are “different.” Another thing—this story is quirky and is unlike any I have read before. Major points for that.

I am not going to say anything else about the plot or the characters as this one is best going in cold if at all possible. I wouldn’t even read the blurb if you haven’t already. Let the story come to you. Props to the artist of the cover and to whoever came up with the title—both are perfect.

Several major themes are touched upon, including: it’s okay to be different; first impressions aren’t always accurate; your elders can teach you a lot; not all dreams should be discounted; young children often have the same fears and insecurities as adults; direct communication and understanding are vital; family does not have to share bloodlines.

This is a heartfelt and profoundly touching novel. By the time I finished the epilogue, I had tears in my eyes, I was missing Elsa and Granny something fierce, and this book had earned all the stars and a spot on my list of top ten reads of 2019.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,493 reviews9 followers
October 28, 2016
This was a tough one to bear after loving Ove sooooo much. Sure, I liked Elsa well enough, 7 going on 8, and Granny was pretty amazing, but the constant reverting to fairytale land made this such a disappointment for me, I was ready to ditch it several times. There was a story to be told but with too many distractions; too many things to NOT like along the way. On the audio, read with a nice British accent, I couldn't be sure of any spellings (or obviously of my hearing); so please bear with me here while I complain. And upfront I tell you who loved this book that I am sorry. Because I did not.

The Kingdom of Miamas I swear sounded to me like Myalis, which sounds like a prescription drug for erectile dysfunction in my non-fantasy world. The animal which I guess was just a big dog but never called a dog sounded like it was called a Worse or Worser (reminding me of Wrong and Wronger ala Alec Baldwin). After digging around some, I find it was Wurse and Wurses, but I don't think that's an actual word. This dog/Wurse was constantly being fed chocolate, which is actually quite dangerous for our furry friends and should not be encouraged. Very dangerous. Little Elsa, 7 going on 8, was more like 7 going on 17. Much too smart and worldly for 7 going on 8, no matter how much she used Wikipedia.

There were many little similarities with Ove's story, but copying from a previous success does not another success make. I think this should have been marketed to kids around 7 going on 8, so it would never have crossed my path. But then looking at everyone else's ratings, there's something definitely wrong with me and most likely my hearing.
2.5 stars
Profile Image for Seemita.
180 reviews1,589 followers
August 8, 2017
[Originally appeared here (with edits): http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]

Ah! What have I read here? A delightful take on life? A sensitive take on grief? A wise take on relationships? Perhaps all of it. And more.

At the centre of this book, is an almost-eight-years old, Elsa. When her best (and quirky) friend, her grandmother, leaves her a series of letters upon her death to be delivered to their intended receivers, she sets onto a thrilling journey of discoveries. What was the primary purpose of the letters you ask? You guessed it. To say sorry.

Among Elsa's neighbours are eccentric chatterboxes and drunken workaholics, weird hounds and mysterious lurkers. Her mother is her punch-bag over teen issues (if Elsa can be called a teen that is) and her Dad is her word collector who can stand everything except a grammatically incorrect sentence. Well, mostly.

Wading through this motley hoard of people, Elsa embarks on a voyage of her own, fumbling on realities at every step and growing wiser with every revelation. Reading quality literature like the Harry Potter series comes handy. And so does listening to (and reminiscing) Granny's fairy tales. After all, she is the Knight in the Land-of-Almost-Awake!

Backman’s heart-warming army conquered me in no time. He possesses a deceptively easy style of narration but one is taken aback by the substance he packs in his one-liners.
Never mess with someone who has more spare time than you do.
Its strange how close love and fear live to each other.
It appears as if Backman leaned on many a poles and watched people battle their demons in routine life - just how some transformed into the fiercest warriors under chaotic spells but were sorely defeated by the toothless, simple, predictable plateau of life. And why everyone, irrespective of their positions on the axis of life, needed attention.
We want to be loved; failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised. At all costs, we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others. Our soul abhors a vacuum.
The strength of Backman's narrative rests on his seamless switching between hilarity and sombreness, keeping the sensibilities of his characters away from dilution. So when a child and a war soldier look at the same issue and engage in a long discussion, their respective identities and backgrounds stand beside them like faithful sentries. That both can still reach a common ground is the beauty of this book.

This work is a magnificent ode to humanity and the many virtues that guard it from losing its sheen. It's a subtle but strong call to dream, to imagine, to protect, to persevere, to sing, to dance, to fly, to fall yet to stand, to encourage, to fight for the right cause, to love, to forgive; in other words, to live. Nothing is a shame, even believing in superheroes, if it eventually adds up to the good in this world.
Profile Image for Danielle.
809 reviews403 followers
June 5, 2020
Lots of hidden messages and meanings within this book. I believe I have too much going on personally to give it my full attention. I loved the relationship between grandma and granddaughter though! It really made me miss my crazy granny, god rest her soul.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
January 27, 2016
I may write a full review at a later date, but this book just didn't contain the magic that A Man Called Ove had.

It is narrated from the perspective of a seven year-old girl who is precocious to the point of being unbelievable. Backman's talent lies in creating witty, cynical, elderly characters, which he should stick to because there really are so few books centred around older men and women. However, after Elsa's grandmother dies (near the beginning), the book quickly lost its sparkle.
Profile Image for emma.
1,823 reviews48.6k followers
November 20, 2017
Remember how I read this book? Because I sure don’t.

What stands out in my mind is that I was able to finish this book when I was finishing literally zero books. But like...don’t let that make you think it was easy. It was Not. Every page I read was a gargantuan effort. Most of this got done by me literally spending one (1) entire evening reading this book. And I only did it because I told someone I was going to be spending my night reading, and that made me feel pressured to do so.

I do not hate this book. Neither do I love it, or like it a whole lot. Or even like it a little bit. It just...exists.

I get what it was going for. And it’s admirable. It’s supposed to be all imagination-y, and isn’t-childhood-cool, and family is important and let’s all love each other and smile.

But it was mostly just really boring. All the characters were bland. And sometimes it went too far on the imagination front. And on the redeeming-characters front. (Not everybody is awesome, okay?!)

Also, this little girl (the main character) is a haaaaaater. (That’s literally a reference to a specific episode of a specific podcast I listened to today. In unrelated news, I am the biggest loser on the entire earth.) Like, every kid is a sh*tbag in her mind. I JUST DON’T LIKE THAT. If you’re going to redeem a weird, semi-neglectful grandmother and a guy who is literally called the Monster, maybe there can be a kid or two who doesn’t full-on suck?

But hey. What do I know.

Plus I normally really like reading Scandinavian-translated books (I am the worst) because I like the way it sounds when it’s English-ized. It still holds a nice poetic effect. But I didn’t get that from this? Maybe because the little-girl-main-character speaks English a lot. Dunno. Didn’t like it.

I have really pressed the boundaries of how much I can talk about this book, so…

Bottom line: It’s okay. Whatever. Read it if you feel like it? Who cares about anything.


-----------------

I FINISHED A BOOOOOOOOOK!!!!

and it was...good? it was fine.

we'll talk about it.

review to come
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,059 followers
November 14, 2015
I seem to have ageist issues with this author's books. In A Man Called Ove the main character was in his fifties and acted like a man of 85. In this book the main character is seven and acts as if she is 17. However if I ignore that I did enjoy the story and found it to be a light, entertaining read, not quite as interesting as Ove, but still okay.
Profile Image for Kavita.
762 reviews370 followers
August 22, 2019
I read Backman's first book, A Man Called Ove, and found it a short and delightful read. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry only has slight glimpses of what Backman is capable. It certainly lacks the charm of his first book.

There is a large cast of characters, each with their own stories and each drawn very sharply, and most important, each is weird in their own specific manner. Elsa, the protagonist, is a seven year old child, who behaves like a 17 year old frustrated teen. She is 'special' and hence gets bullied at school and has no friends. Her grandmother is her only friend but she dies of cancer, leaving Elsa to get on with a treasure hunt, which would lead her to uncover the stories of the weirdos living in the building.

In parallel, we get stories from The Land of Almost Awake, a fantasy creation of Elsa's grandmother to draw her away from her tough life and keep her entertained. It is here that I completely lost interest. The fairy tale stories simply dragged on and on and were not interesting in the least. Elsa discovers that the fairy tales ultimately tied up to the stories of the other characters in the book, but this doesn't make them any more readable. I just skimmed through entire pages and have no clue what was going on in the make-believe land.

Elsa herself is slightly annoying. She is supposed to be very bright for her age, but really, some of the things she does and says is simply annoying. She screams at people and constantly corrects them, which annoyed the heck out of me. And no matter how smart you think your child is, you don't allow her to drive a car! That was just weird. What kind of irresponsible people are these? Granny was even more annoying and really shouldn't have been looking after a child. Can I reiterate I hate child narrators / protagonists? Another thing that put me off the book was 'the boy with the syndrome'. Yes, that was his full name and he was constantly referred to as such continuously. I consider this unacceptable!

The actual story emerging from this mess was quite interesting and had scope, but I had to plod through pages and pages of inconsequential and annoying fairy tales and precocious kids to get to the point.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,579 followers
August 12, 2022
I am usually good at knowing my ability to read a book in a genre other than ones I normally read. I'm not much of a fantasy or science-fiction guy. I loved Harry Potter, The Time Machine, Lord of the Rings, and Thursday Next, but when there's a lot of room for wiggle in the structure, I'm less inclined to like it. It could be an amazing book, but it just doesn't work for me as I question the boundaries and the influx of species I don't understand. I never expected to find that in a Fredrik Backman novel... I read four of his others and just went on a splurge to order copies of everything he'd written. When I perused the description for My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, I went "uh oh" but continued on. About ten percent in, I knew I was going to struggle.

It's not a fantasy book, but at least 50% of the story is based on metaphors and allegories where Backman tells us about the relationships of a kooky cast of characters who share residence in a large building full of apartments. Elsa is the 7-turning-8-year-old main character who's been given a series of notes from her recently deceased and supposedly crazy grandmother. Through Elsa's eyes, and her grandmother's imagination, we learn some history and some current happenings that tie everything together. Her grandmother created a fantasy world of people and places to help teach Elsa a different way of looking at the world both near and afar.

In many aspects, the story is hilarious and adorable. When it sticks to real-life situations, I laugh and cry. When it tries to show the theory of how people relate to one another thru made-up places and monsters, I'm lost. It's a bit of an immediate thing.... I hear/see the words about another creature or planet, and something sinks inside me. In movies, I love it. But in books, I usually do not. I also struggled at times because of the simplicity in some of the writing. While Elsa's vocabulary is quite skillful, and her ways of dealing with people are more mature than most adults I know, the short and terse structure at times overwhelmed the plot for me.

So... my lesson is to be careful when going on a binge to read all the works from an author you love. While this hasn't caused me to drop my opinion of Backman, it made me realize a story needs to work on all levels and elements to truly move or impact me. In this one, the fantasy took me out of the normal love I have for Backman's style and character development to the point I found myself skimming way too often. I committed to reading it, and I did, but I probably only digested about 2/3 of the content because it just wasn't keeping my attention.

I'm still gonna read more of his work and recommend him to others. Just not this book unless the reader is unlike me and loves the fantasy components. Given the good parts were a 5 for me, and the bad parts were a 1 for me, I settled on allotting 3 stars which in my world is still a good book. I recognize the skill and talent enough to say it's a solid read with a select audience. Kudos to anyone who loved it, I wish I could be more open-minded in some of the genres I don't often find interesting. Maybe one day!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
November 20, 2020
Min mormor hälsar och säger förlåt = My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, Fredrik Backman

The story takes place in Sweden and follows Elsa, a 7 year old who knows she is different from other children her age. She has a habit of correcting others' grammar, is smart for her age, and is especially close with her grandmother (Granny). When Granny passes, Elsa slowly discovers more about her grandmother's past identities, as well as the lives of people affected by her grandmother.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه نوامبر سال 2018میلادی

عنوان: مادربزرگ سلام رساند و گفت متاسف است؛ نویسنده: فردریک بکمن ؛ مترجم: نیلوفر خوش‌زبان؛ تهران نشر نون‏‫، 1396؛ در 380ص؛ شابک 9786007141892؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان سوئدی - سده 21م‬

مادربزرگ همان کسی است که یادمانهای کودکی بیشتر ما، به ایشان گره خورده است؛ از دور هم جمع شدن‌های خانوادگی، تا داستان‌هایی که شب‌ها برایمان پیش از خوابیدن می‌خواند،؛ و ما را با دنیای جادویی قصه‌ ها آشنا می‌کرد، تا محبت‌های همیشگی، لذت حضور مادربزرگ را، برایمان آن‌چنان شیرین کند، که مادربزرگ تبدیل به قهرمان زندگی‌مان شود، تا پس از درگذشت ایشان نیز، بتوانیم حضورش را در زندگی حس کنیم

چکیده داستان: «السا دختر هفت ساله‌ ای است، که رفتارهای عجیب و متفاوت دارد.؛ او بیش‌تر از سنش می‌فهمد، و به همین دلیل همکلاسی‌هایش در مدرسه او را اذیت می‌کنند.؛ تنها دوست «السا» مادربزرگ هفتاد و هفت ساله‌ اش است.؛ مادربزرگ قهرمان «السا» است.؛ زنیکه از نظر مردمان غیرعادی و متفاوت است؛ مادربزرگ، شب‌ها قصه‌ های افسانه‌ ای، برای السا می‌خواند، و او را به دنیای قصه‌ ها می‌برد، دنیایی که در آن هیچ‌کدام از آدم‌هایش مثل «السا» و مادربزرگش معمولی نیستند.؛ روزی که مادربزرگ می‌میرد، «السا» تنها و عصبانی از این‌که مادربزرگ او را تنها گذاشته، نامه‌هایی از مادربزرگ پیدا می‌کند، نامه‌ هایی که السا را وارد فضایی ماجراجویانه می‌کند، و قصه‌ های پرفراز و نشیبی را برای او رقم می‌زند.»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 29/08/1399هجری خورشدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jonathan K (Max Outlier).
615 reviews120 followers
April 21, 2021
Since this the fourth time I've read this, the previous reviews do justice. That said, I will add that there are so many great fairytale characters used as metaphor, it's without doubt one Backman's best! If you haven't read it, take a journey you'll never regret!

Rating is 6+ stars.
Profile Image for Brian.
689 reviews332 followers
August 31, 2018
“I want someone to know I was here.”

This is the second Fredrik Backman novel I have read. I will read others I am sure. “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” is a sentimental tale, with a 7 (almost 8) year old protagonist whose sardonic voice is a real joy to read.
The novel suffers from a slow start. There is a fairy tale device that is interweaved into the narrative that never fully grabbed me, and it took me most of the book to buy into it. Other readers I know jumped right into that aspect of the text. To each his own, right? However, the last half of the book I thought was strong narratively, things started to fall into place for me with the fairy tale device, and from that point on I was fully in.
The author uses redundancies to excellent effect in this book. The redundancies alternate between being humorous and reinforcing thematic textual points, and sometimes they do both at the same time. They were well executed, and using redundancy without being annoying is a nice hat trick that Backman pulls off in fine manner. As mentioned previously, the child protagonist Elsa is also an engaging character to read, as Backman infuses her with observations well out of a 7 year old grasp while still writing her as a believable child.
“My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” is a sentimental and beautiful story. A cynic would call it trite, and perhaps it is trite, but this line from the text kind of makes my point for me, “Stories were completely for real, and at the same time not.” That encapsulates this book in a nutshell. This novel may be simple, but it is beautiful and profound more often than not, and for those reasons alone (not to mention a story that is clever and engaging and writing that is good) should make it worth your time to read.
Profile Image for Annet.
570 reviews722 followers
March 26, 2017
Review to follow. Took me some time to get past a let's say 3.2 rating. The final chapters pushed me over 3.5. Heartwarming story about families and people living in one house and specifically a little girl and her grandmother. Sometimes the story dragged on a bit, the fairytaleworld stories did not really appeal to me. Grandma is hilarious. Thinking about this... Author is talented for sure. A man called Ove was a stronger story for me. I am looking forward to Bear Town, which seems like a great one....
'Alf says it's lucky he turned out to be a boy, because the women in our family are 'so bonkers they're a safety hazard', she chuckles....
Profile Image for Victor.
259 reviews4,564 followers
January 5, 2023
Sinceramente não sei que nota dar. Fico entre 4 e 4.5. Tem vários momentos bem lentinhos que arrastaram um pouco, mas a história é linda e os personagens espetaculares. Mais um hit do kingo.
Profile Image for Lori.
360 reviews424 followers
February 23, 2020
This book won me over page by page. At first it seemed hopelessly twee, and the child an obnoxious brat. But little by little I was drawn into both the fairy tale and the real worlds in this book, full as they are of grief, loss and sorrow, powered by Backman's prose that is wry, comic, ironic, sarcastic, occasionally ridiculous and full of heart. "Having a grandmother is like having an army", says Elsa, and her late grandmother is quite amazing, leaving upon her death a treasure hunt made of fairy tales for Elsa. The end is breathtaking and far more rewarding than I expected.

I laughed, I cried. It's Backman's M.O. to disarm the reader with charm and comedy and steal your heart in plain sight. And in the end, after all, Backman forced me to ask myself what is wrong with shameless sentimentality when it's this well done? Not a thing. The real world lately cries out for escape and this is a wonderful book to follow down the rabbit hole.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,137 reviews8,151 followers
September 12, 2016
Fredrik Backman is truly a wonderful storyteller. He creates such unique and fun characters and puts them into such endearing, heartwarming stories. I grew to love Elsa and her grandmother, along with Alf, George, The Monster and the wurse—and Britt-Marie, who is the main character in another of his novels!

This story itself was very similar to one of my favorite books, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which was a bit strange. I didn't realize until near the end how very similar the two stories are. But Backman's writing is so different than Foer's that this story is absolutely still worth reading.
Profile Image for Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.
2,458 reviews513 followers
June 16, 2015

For all it made me feel, I declared Fredrik Backman's debut novel, A Man Called Ove my favourite book of 2014 and My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She's Sorry is now my favourite of 2015.

Elsa is an improbably precocious but utterly adorable seven year old girl who loves her grandmother, Harry Potter and Wikipedia, in that order. Bullied at school, Granny is Elsa's best and only friend, her guide to the Land-of-Almost-Awake, a dreamscape of fairy tales, magic and adventure that comforts them both when life is difficult, and her very own superhero.

She shouldn't take any notice of what those muppets think, says Granny. Because all the best people are different - look at superheroes."

Just before Granny dies she presses an envelope into Elsa's hand, and asks her granddaughter to deliver a letter.

"Give the letter to him who's waiting. He won't want to accept it, but tell him it's from me. Tell him your granny sends her regards and says she's sorry"

And so begins Elsa's adventure, part quest, part treasure hunt, part superhero mission, Granny's letter leads Elsa first to the door of a wurse, and then The Monster (also known as Wolfheart), another letter leads her to the Sea-Witch and yet another much later to the Princess of Miploris. With each letter, offering apologies and regrets, Elsa unravels the truth about the fairy tales that form the foundation of the Land-of-Almost-Awake, and the secrets of her grandmother's exceptional life.

"Elsa doesn’t know if this means that Granny took all her stories from the real world and placed them in Miamas, or if the stories from Miamas became so real that the creatures came across to the real world. But the Land-of-Almost-Awake and her house are obviously merging."

In My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She's Sorry, Backman weaves a creative tapestry of the ordinary together with the extraordinary. Characters that are real, flawed yet magnificent, or as Granny puts it,

"no one is entirely a sh*t and almost no one is entirely not a sh*t".

It tells a story that is both wise and insightful, absurd and wondrous as it explores the themes of grief, love, difference, connection, regrets and forgiveness.

Funny, moving, heartfelt and inspiring, it made me laugh and cry.
Not five stars but ten... at least!
Profile Image for رزی - Woman, Life, Liberty.
215 reviews88 followers
February 7, 2022
چه جمال جان فزایی که میان جان مایی
تو به جان چه می‌نمایی تو چنین شکر چرایی!

چه کتاب دوست‌داشتنی و بامزه‌ای!
چه دنیای تاریک و روشنی.
مادربزرگ آتش‌پاره و موزمار و مردم‌آزار قصه‌ی ما، هفت قلمرو پادشاهی‌ای خیالی ساخته و برای نوه‌اش تعریف کرده، نوه جون با این قصه‌ها بزرگ شده، با ماموریت‌های سلحشوران (معنیش رو می‌دونه، چون توی ویکی‌پدیا جست‌وجو کرده) و شکست نیروهای تاریکی، جادوگران و رقصندگان و قصه‌گویان، با مخلوقاتی مثل ورس، پری دریایی، گرگ‌دل، شاهدخت، سوارکاران طلایی و حیوانات ابری.
در دنیایی که زمانی «زندانِ نه‌گوها» وجود داشت.
و جنگی بی‌پایان وجود داشت.
و «فوراٌ» وجود داشت.
در دنیایی که قصه‌ها ارزشمندترین‌اند و قصه‌گویی، معتبرترین شغل.
و حالا وقت کشف دنیای واقعی رسیده.
دنیایی که با هفت قلمرو گره خورده.

دو کلوم درباره ترجمه:
من کتاب رو از نشر کوله‌پشتی خوندم، ترجمه‌ی نچسبی داشت. پر از اصطلاحات ترجمه‌نشده و غلط غلوط... یه خُرده برام عجیبه که از توده‌ی خواننده‌ی فارسی‌زبان انتظار داشته باشی معنیِ واژه‌های آیرونی، استاتوس، اسمارت‌فون، آنارشی، میوتانت، استتوسکوپ و... رو بدونه.
پاورقی‌ها گاهاٌ کم بودن (مثلاٌ اسم برندها و اشخاص) و حتی غلط، مثل پاورقیِ «گریفیندور» که براش نوشته شده: شخصیتی از مجموعه هری پاتر!
یه جاش هم نوشته «توی اینترنت موج‌سواری کنم.» آخه حتی بدون دونستن معنیِ دیگه‌ی
surf
می‌شه تشخیص داد عبارت موج‌سواری توی اینترنت بی‌معنیه!
و چیزهای دیگه...
در کل من که نسبت به ترجمه اونقد حساس نیستم، شما اگه واسه‌تون خیلی مهمه از نشر کوله‌پشتی نگیرید. می‌گن نشر نون بهترین نسخه از کارهای بکمن رو داره.

*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

- کمک کردن به کسی که نمی‌خواد به خودش کمک کنه، سخته.
- کسی که بتونه به خودش کمک کنه، به کمک دیگران نیاز نداره.

(That's a fallacy, but you get the point.)
Profile Image for Igor Guzun.
Author 17 books224 followers
August 7, 2018
„Bunica mi-a zis să-ți spun că-i pare rău” este cea mai frumoasă carte. O carte all inclusive. Cu emoții. Suspans. Și cu foarte multă dragoste. Și cu nemărginitele feluri de exprimare a dragostei.

Odată bunica a dus-o pe nepoțica sa în Spania, povestește Fredrik Backman, și au stat acolo la un hotel all inclusive, dar Elsa n-a fost deloc impresionată. „Când ai o bunică, toată viața e all inclusive”.

„E privilegiul oricărui nepot să știe că are întotdeauna pe cineva de partea sa, indiferent de situație. Chiar și când greșește. De fapt, mai ales atunci”.

Și așa toată viață până devenim noi bunici. Ca să spunem asta poate tot într-o carte. Și asta va deveni cea mai frumoasă carte a nepoților noștri.
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