“All the best people are different – look at superheroes. After all, if superpowers were normal, everyone would have them.”
Endearing and heartwarming, MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES is the tale of precocious seven (almost eight) year old Elsa coming to terms with her superhero and best friend’s death. Sent on an epic quest to deliver letters to the various characters living in her block of flats, the real world begins to mingle with Elsa’s fairytale land of monsters, knights and angels.
Fredrik’s style is really pleasant to read with lovely, image-rich writing that flows nicely from page to page. The plot is simple but effectively executed, keeping a reasonable pace as Elsa finds and delivers each letter. The Kingdom of Miamas is beautifully constructed and delicately woven into the storyline of Elsa’s reality – even the setting of her average Swedish hometown was stunning.
Drawing on Elsa’s memories and adventures with her outrageous grandmother, we have the opportunity to explore all sorts of stories in the Land of Almost-Awake. The tales are sewn into the plot in an incredibly intelligent way and I just couldn’t get enough of Miamas. I loved this feature and felt it added a whole other facet to what would otherwise have been a more traditional literary novel. For those not used to the fantastic, it may be difficult to get really stuck into the story, but for me it worked perfectly.
Elsa was a delight to read. She is bright, funny and very much a fan of quality literature such as Harry Potter and Spiderman. She’s a touch eccentric, just like her granny, and has an exceptional imagination. Even though she’s wise before her years, her voice feels very true to a curious and intelligent young girl and she has an inquisitive nature that really becomes her.
We see the whole story through Elsa’s eyes but we learn much about her friends, family and neighbours as she muddles through her grandmother’s quest. All the side characters we encounter initially seem rather one dimensional, but as Elsa delivers her letters and gets to know each and every person on a more personal level, layers of complexity are revealed. The stereotypes, amusing though they might be, slowly become real, rounded people.
Through her life Granny shows us that it’s okay to be different and through her letters she reminds us of an incredibly important lesson – don’t judge a book by its cover. The people Elsa encounters all have stories to tell and by the end of the book my initial opinions had been completely reversed on all of them.
MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS doesn’t fit into one distinct genre and has a little bit of everything for everyone (just like Granny); fantasy adventure colliding with contemporary life. A creative world and complicated characters, Fredrik has brought an utterly charming, uplifting and original story to life.
I received MY GRANDMOTHER SENDS HER REGARDS AND APOLOGISES from Sceptre in exchange for an honest review. My reviews always represent my own opinion.