BOOK REVIEW: Quirky granny a real hero

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman. Publisher: Hachette Australia. RRP: Paperback $29.99. Available as e-book.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman. Publisher: Hachette Australia. RRP: Paperback $29.99. Available as e-book.

 

ELSA'S grandmother is more than feisty. Way past eccentric. She's the sort of granny who would break into a zoo at night and throw monkey poo at the police just so Elsa wouldn't remember that day as the day bullies damaged her Gryffindor scarf.

This extraordinary book by Swedish author Fredrik Backman had me from its opening chapter - I counted two belly laughs and six chuckles in the first three pages.

Seen through the eyes of the clever, snarky, imaginative, almost-eight-year-old Elsa, this story (beautifully translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch) is a funny, moving and inspiring tribute to being different.

Granny has created her own version of faerie for Elsa - the Land-of-Almost-Awake where fairytales are born, full of knights and monsters, soldiers and snow angels plus a few ideas stolen from Harry Potter, which Elsa reckons is okay because they're good ideas.

She is Elsa's superhero, but Granny is not immortal. She gives a last quest to her beloved knight Elsa, to deliver a series of messages and apologies, and to defend the castle.

But thanks to one of Granny's rules, all stories have a dragon at the end of them - or something darker. Gradually we learn the tragic reality behind her stories and how each relates to the real world, as Elsa and her family and neighbours confront something evil and seek their own redemption. I did not want this book to end. It is an enchanting and emotionally engaging journey.


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