So why was I in tears at the end of this novella? Because Backman hits you in the feels with his story based on love and loss. It really reminded me of Tuesdays with Morrie or The Five People You Meet in Heaven, both by Mitch Albom. It has that strong nostalgic feel that Albom is known for, drawing you in to this world as if the memories and experiences were your own. We meet the main character, a grandfather, and find out that he has Alzheimer's. The narration follows his explanation to his grandfather of what is happening to his mind. It's quaint in the anecdotes it shares, many of which I can guess were based on Backman's own life. The book opens with a letter to the reader from Backman, himself.
This is a story about memories and about letting go. It's a love letter and a slow farewell between a man and his grandson, and between a dad and his boy. I never meant for you to read it, to be quite honest. I wrote it just because I was trying to sort out my own thoughts, and I'm the kind of person who needs to see what I'm thinking on paper to make sense of it. But it turned into a small tale of how I'm dealing slowly with losing the greatest minds I know, about missing someone who is still here, and how I wanted to explain it to my children. I'm letting it go for now, for what it's worth.
The translation was actually quite good, and I don't think I would have noticed it if I didn't know that Backman was Swedish to begin with. I really enjoyed how he tells a story, plopping you down in media res. Thankfully, I do not have a family member suffering from Alzheimer's, and obviously you don't have to have that connection for you to enjoy this story. It's about how to say goodbye and how to remember, even if you forget what to remember. It's about mathematics and literature. It's about family. It's a great, short read to try if you're nervous about reading Backman like I was. It isn't my favorite read of the summer, but it's compelled me to try more of his works to see what they have to offer as well.
TL/DR: 76 pages is short enough for you to get a feel for this author and long enough for you to become immersed in the story.
Rating: 4/5 stars.
The way to Alexandra's heart is through a great book recommendation.