cbr13bingo Book Club
I wanted to do a pure Bingo. Unfortunately, I could not get myself to read the book I picked, Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau (a choice of a book group that purchases their books via the bookstore I work at). Therefore, I went hunting for an “easy book club recommend” and found lots of books that just sounded hard. (I am not sure what they considered easy, but one list had several over 300 paged books on it.) But, as we all know, once you start searching for a subject, it is easy to go down the rabbit hole of links. Another link was Books for Your Book Club and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman was there. I know that book clubs associated with the store have used it, and by a (somewhat) logical jump, I figured people must have used his other novels as well. Therefore, as I am currently reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (I have, as of this writing 10 chapters left) I figured I could use this book as my book club book. Plus, we have it on a display of books you can use for your book club. (Along with some other cools books like My Sister the Serial Killer). And if someone has not used this book as a book club selection, they better.
When I first started this book about Elsa and her Granny, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. When you have a Granny that shoots paint balls at people, tosses poo at police officers, and likes beer and cinnamon buns, you know you have yourself a character. The humor pours out onto the page in rivers. Until it does not. Fairly early in the book the humor mostly stops, and things gets serious. Why might you ask? Well, Granny has left us and Elsa. And though she is a precocious almost 8-year-old, she is still a kid. A naïve kid who is wise beyond her years, but a kid nonetheless. A kid who is trying to deal with her mothers’ job, her mother’s pregnancy, her parents’ divorce, her stepfather, the neighbors in her apratment complex, and a quest her grandmother has sent her on. And all of that without her one real friend and ally, Granny.
The cast of characters are colorful, amusing, horrible, sad, and relatable. There is a lot to talk about. You can wonder about Elsa, and why she is the way she is: Is she autistic or “just odd”? And you can talk about the role of women (Granny was a doctor before women were in the medical field outside of nurses and Elsa’s mother got into administration of a hospital). You can talk about the mother-daughter relationship or even the father-daughter relationship. There are issues of community, family and even war. There is the story of children and how they are loved or not. There are life changing events for Elsa and other people you meet. You, of course, could find issues I missed.
As I have not finished it yet, I am not sure how much I will love the ending. I have mostly enjoyed it, though I felt it was terrible slow in some places. I was reading it via a website that has a few free books, but mostly are paid. Therefore, the format was a bit awkward at times to read. With that said, this is a great book to just sit comfortably, and take your time reading. I have a feeling some of the areas that did not read smoothly for me was due to issues I can have with translated books (my “Eyes Ear” does not always work well with translations) therefore, most people are fine with that.
I post this as a book club book (or if to be fair, my readers choice if need be) not because I LOVED it from start to finish, but I truly think this book would make a great book club read, and I wanted to write my review free of any love or hate of the ending (as I have a sneaking suspicion I am not going to like where this is going!)
PS: I chose a line from the book for the title of the review that fits the theme of the book. It truly is a book about reality and how much we can deal with.