Fredrik Backman loves to give us characters with prickly dispositions. Seven-year-old Elsa of My grandmother sends her regards and apologises is no exception. Then again, who can blame her with a grandmother who flings poop at the police, breaks into zoos and makes it her life’s mission to torment their highly strung neighbour Britt-Marie?
When Elsa’s grandmother dies (don’t worry it’s not a spoiler, it happens right at the start) she leaves behind a series of cryptic clues and letters and a special mission for her scrappy granddaughter. Elsa embarks on a mad-cap scavenger hunt where she forges unlikely friendships with larger-than-life characters, including a knight and a wurse. (What’s a wurse? Read the book to find out!)
My grandmother sends her regards and apologises is a book about telling stories. It’s about the power of the imagination, love and friendship and above all, the importance of superheroes. Backman’s characters are as unique and colourful as they are pig-headed and infuriating.
I loved that Elsa wasn’t cute. I’ve about had it with sweetness but then she came along. No one can accuse her of anything other than brains, grit, sarcasm and obstinacy.
On that note, I can’t wait to read Backman’s next novel, Britt-Marie Was Here, which focuses on one of the most annoying, passive-aggressive characters in My grandmother sends her regards and apologises.
My grandmother sends her regards and apologises will make you laugh, cry, scream, curl up in a ball, cry again and eventually, smile.