Friday, January 13, 2017

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Book Review

by Taylor Patskanick

This poignant story by Fredrik Backman often defies reality in the pursuit of celebrating the diversity of human experiences.

Elsa, an extraordinary seven-year-old, is something of an outsider among her peers; and Granny, an eccentric 77-year-old, is her best friend and superhero.

Granny tells Elsa nightly bedtime fairytales about the Land of Almost-Awake and its legendary six kingdoms in a wardrobe that seems to grow with Elsa inside of Granny’s apartment. But when Granny loses her battle with cancer, Elsa is tasked with the adventure of a lifetime to deliver apology letters from Granny to others from throughout her life. 

Gradually, Elsa meets many new friends in her apartment building with characteristics and histories that mirror the stories she has heard from the Land of Almost-Awake. 

Meet Alf, a cantankerous cab driver; Britt-Marie, the fussy leader of the “leaseholder’s association;” the Monster, a soft-hearted germaphobe; and a wurse, a bizarre creature that loves chocolate. 

Those are just a few of the acquaintances Elsa befriends. Not only do these new friends help Elsa fill the hollowness of Granny’s death, but they become important allies when their apartment building is threatened by an enemy likened to a fearsome dragon in the Land of Almost-Awake.

Backman’s words are whimsical and charismatic, highlighting the complexity of our greatest social concerns today - bullying, domestic violence, feminism, mental illness, grief, loss and more. 

The intersection of Granny’s past and Elsa’s present through the fairytales will captivate and enchant you - reminding us of the need for empathy in understanding others' experiences of others, while showing the limitless power of the grandmother-grandchild relationship.

Backman’s quirky writing style might take some adjusting too, but I enjoyed experiencing life through the eyes of a 7- going on 8-year-old, though the fairytales are also meant for adults. 

As we grow up and life becomes complicated, we think we have to let go of our heroes from childhood stories. Backman pushes back against these ideas, proposing that perhaps life does not have to be this way. 

Elsa and Granny’s story is one example of how generations connect through stories.

Let’s continue the conversation:

How has intergenerational storytelling influenced your life or your family?

Taylor is an MSW/MPH candidate at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She is also a Master’s Research Fellow in Aging with the Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University’s Institute for Public Health.


Anonymous said...

A very nice review of the book. Now, I am going to pick up a copy. Everytime I go to the bookstore, I have picked it up and put it down. But Taylor's review has sold me.


In the name of of Allah the Merciful,
Peace and Mercy of God rest upon you.
Are you looking for a business loan, personal loans, mortgages, car loans, student loans, debt consolidation loans, unsecured loans, risk capital, etc ... You are in the right place for Your loan solutions! We are a private lender who lends money to Individuals and businesses at a low interest rate . Contact us today through Email:

max william said...

Do you need Finance?
Are you looking for Finance?
Are you looking for a money to enlarge your business?
We help individuals and companies to obtain loan for business
expanding and to setup a new business ranging any amount. Get a loan at affordable interest rate of 3%, Do you need this cash/loan for business and to clear your bills? Then send us an email now for more information contact us now via

Credit Loan Solution said...

Are you tired of seeking loans and Mortgages,have you been turned down constantly By your banks and other financial institutions,We offer any form of loan to individuals and corporate bodies at low interest rate.If you are interested in taking a loan,feel free to contact us today,we promise to offer you the best services ever.Just give us a try,because a trial will convince you.What are your Financial needs?Do you need a business loan?Do you need a personal loan?Do you want to buy a car?Do you want to refinance?Do you need a mortgage loan?Do you need a huge capital to start off your business proposal or expansion? Have you lost hope and you think there is no way out, and your financial burdens still persists? Contact us (

Your Name:...............
Your Country:...............
Your Occupation:...............
Loan Amount Needed:...............
Loan Duration...............
Monthly Income:...............
Your Telephone Number:.....................
Business Plan/Use Of Your Loan:...............
Contact Us At :
Phone number :+44-75967-81743 (WhatsApp Only)


My name is.Mrs CYNTHIA CORVIN. I live in Ukraine i am a happy woman today? i need to use this time to tell all people how i got my loan from this honest and God fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of $184,000 please contact him. if you also need a loan without any problem he name is Dr Purva Pius email {} tell him that is Mrs CYNTHIA CORVIN that refer you to he contact Email {}