A fan of the author, but not as much of this particular book. Awarded 3 stars on Goodreads.
3.5 stars is probably more accurate — mostly because the novel felt too long during the first half though it picked up pace and became much better during the second half.
At it’s center is charming Elsa — a super-precocious nearly 8-year-old who is exceptionally close to her somewhat eccentric grandmother. It’s grandmother who provided emotionally stability when Elsa’s parents divorced and acquired new partners. Theirs is an enviable relationship, full of humor, fantasy, and deep mutual commitment. When Elsa’s grandmother dies (early in the book), she leaves behind a trail of messages that help Elsa learn more about her grandmother’s life before Elsa was born. And there’s a lot of learn! But I’ll skip the spoilers.
The book is written with lots of humor, quirky characters, and enough of the essence of an 8-year-old mind to be completely believable and delightful, but early on there simply wasn’t enough progress to keep up my reading momentum. I found myself putting the book down often without any eagerness to pick it up again. That changed a bit more than half-way through when I became completely engrossed. So that, by the end, I felt it was a 4-star read.
My recommendation, if you feel like you’re having trouble getting through the book, is to stick with it. Because there’s a great payoff at the end.
More about Fredrik Backman.
You may also be interested in my review of another book by this author, one I LOVED: