Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman

 

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I love the author’s style of gradually revealing contradictory bits and pieces about the characters.  It takes us a while to get to know each of them , and almost as long to decide to like them.

Britt-Marie is crotchety, snobby, set in her ways and judgmental.  Or, that’s what I thought when I started reading.  The more I read the more I enjoyed her.  Just like in the author’s previous books, our main character is far more than meets the eye.

This is a story about a middle aged woman leaving her husband and ending up in an isolated poverty stricken town.  That said, it’s pretty funny.  Here’s a line I noted as particularly clever:  “Somebody has one of the worst hairstyles Britt-Marie has ever laid eyes on, as if she’s combed her hair with a terrified animal.”  It’s also a bit melancholy:  “Britt-Marie stayed awake all night.  She’s used to that, as people are when they have lived their entire lives for someone else.”

 

To really appreciate this gem of a book I recommend reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.  We meet Britt Marie in that book and get quite a bit of her backstory.

 

Source:  ARC from publisher

Audience:  adults.  This would be a great pick for a book group.

 

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and Henning Koch

I read this book in January of 2014 and today I saw (in People Magazine of all places!) that it is now available in paperback.  It’s a book that might fall under the radar, so I bring it to your attention now.

On page one you know exactly the kind of main character you are dealing with: a cranky, mean old man. You’ll expect him to learn a lesson before the book ends. Nope, that’s not even close to what this book is like. Ove will make you angry, to be sure. But you’ll laugh and cry too. I highly recommend this book.

The publisher has created a reading group guide, available here

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie rights were sold months ago, but just in Sweden.  Maybe US film makers will be interested.  They should be!

Source:  ARC from publisher

Date finished:  January 2, 2014