Book Chat’s Rating: ∗∗/5
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is a story told by a precocious seven-year-old child, Elsa. Her grandmother is predictably a little crazy – the type of grandmother that would slap the principal in the face if her grandchild got (unreasonably) yelled at at school. She’s Elsa’s best and only friend. She told Elsa all kind of fairy tales and fantasy stories about the Land of Almost Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. One day, she died and left Elsa a bunch of letters for her to deliver to some people in an apartment building…. to say she’s sorry. As Elsa follows the letters, she found the connection between all the good old fairy tales and the true human behind those stories.
The story is a heart warming story with some good moments that I even laugh out loud, but most of the time I feel like it’s dragging on so long. There are so many characters and with both of their fairy-tales names and real-life names, I could not keep track of them all. Their stories are not quite interlinked which makes them even less memorable. I do not need to hear 50 different stories to get the point that it’s okay to be different, and neither does the seven year old girl. Perhaps it has something to do with the Sweden humor and story-telling style. I’ve read One Hundred Year Old Man Climbed out the Window and Disappeared (what’s up with the long title in all these Sweden novels? The Girl with a Dragon Tatoo…) which shared similar style of humor and keep repeating the same of event (eg. every single letter has a meme….), once you get used to the rhythm of the story, it gets old pretty quick.
I also dislike the book because it feels Harry Potter and Spider Man are the pre-requisite reading for this book. Every few pages there is reference to Harry Potter or Spider Man, which makes me really wonder… can seven-year-old read Harry Potter? That seems like a big book for seven-year-old. Admittedly her grandma taught her well with reading and writing and stories and metaphor but the overall situation, it’s very hard to believe, thus discredit the story and makes it somewhat annoying.
I was very surprised to find it with high rating on Goodreads because no-one in my bookclub liked it. Either our bookclub is a bunch of bitter wise-asses or this book attracts a very specific type of audiences: Ones who like book that has a lot of quotable materials, has a lot of awwwwwwwww moments, the type of books that you’re not sure what genre it should belong to (children? fantasy? fairy tales?).
Overall: Great idea, poor execution.