2017 has been a particularly good year so far for books. My last read in January was Fredrik Backman's charming, if slightly schmaltzy, My Grandmother sends her regards and apologises.

Beware of the Wurse!
Granny is a Superhero to her nearly-8-year-old grand-daughter, Elsa. So when Granny dies suddenly and unexpectedly, Elsa loses her best friend, and the core of her stability. Post-Granny, who is going to save her from the bullies, break into the local zoo, and tell her epic fairy tales?

Her Grandma though has already thought this through, and through a series of letters to be delivered to friends, neighbours and old enemies, Grandma sends Elsa off on a quest to discover what life was like for Grandma pre-Elsa, and how life will continue and blossom post-Granny. Along the way Elsa becomes friends with a big hairy dog, a refugee suffering from PTSD, a boy who is also "different", and discovers that some families have very scary secrets.

It's a beautiful novel, well translated from the original Swedish. Its tale of dysfunctional families and what makes them whole is a real feel-good read. It's funny, sometimes scary, and has a heart-warming charm that is all its own. Elsa may be a bit larger than life, and a little too precocious to be altogether believable, in fact most of the characters are rather over-the-top, but this rather adds to the charm, turning My Grandmother sends her regards and apologises from an enjoyable novel to a magical fable for grown-ups. 

Told with great humour there are some serious themes here, as the novel deals with grief, loss, war, and betrayal. To offset this though there is also love and laughter and loyalty, not forgetting dogs. A sweet, engaging, unforgettable read. 


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