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No.
38


 
Fun,
Adventurous,
Brilliant

13 reviews

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry: A Novel
by Fredrik Backman

Published: 2016-04-05
Paperback : 372 pages
58 members reading this now
77 clubs reading this now
14 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 13 of 13 members
A charming, warmhearted novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller A Man Called Ove.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, ...
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Introduction

A charming, warmhearted novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller A Man Called Ove.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

1. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry begins with the pronouncement, “Every seven-year-old deserves a superhero.” (page 1) Do you agree? Why is it so important that children have heroes? Who were your heroes when you were a child?

2. Names play a significant part in Elsa’s grandmother’s stories. How do the various kingdom and heroine names from the Land-of-Almost-Awake (Miamas, Miploris, Mimovas, Wolfheart, the Chosen One, the sea-angel, etc.) inform your understanding of Granny’s stories? Did you agree with how their real world counterparts were portrayed in the stories?

3. Elsa’s mother grew up in a nontraditional family environment. Do you think this influenced her parenting style with Elsa? In what ways?

4. Were you surprised by the ways in which each of the apartment tenants were connected to the others? Which relationship surprised you the most? Why?

5. Granny is a polarizing figure in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Describe the way each of the characters reacts to her. Do you think their opinions of her are justified? Why or why not? What did you think of Granny? Do you know anyone like her?

6. Discuss the role that books, especially the Harry Potter novels, play in Elsa’s life. Why do you think Elsa relates to the Harry Potter books more than other novels? When you were growing up, were there books you particularly loved? Which ones and why?

7. What did you think of Britt-Marie when you first encountered her? Did she remind you of anyone in your life? Where do you think Britt-Marie goes at the end of the novel?

8. Elsa believes that her “teachers are wrong. [She] has no problems concentrating. She just concentrates on the right things.” (page 47) What kinds of things does Elsa concentrate on? How does this create problems for her? Do you think that Elsa is a good student? Why or why not?

9. Which of the characters in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry surprised you the most? Why?

10. Discuss Britt-Marie’s marriage to Kent. Did you think they were well suited for each other? Do you think the marriage changed Britt-Marie? How can being in a bad relationship affect someone’s personality?

11. Fairy tales can provide a way to teach children some fundamental truths about the world. How do Granny’s fairy tales help Elsa understand the world around her? What lessons does Elsa take away from the tales her Granny tells her about life in the land of Miamas?

12. When her grandmother dies, Elsa is of course sad, but she also experiences a wide range of other emotions, including anger. Can you name some of the others? Consider how the loss of a loved one can lead us to have feelings that are much more complicated than sadness.

13. In this book, as in his previous novel A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman paints a vivid portrait of the relationship between an older person nearing the end of his or her life, and a young child. What can people at the opposite ends of life learn from one another? How are the very old and the very young alike? How are they different? When you were very young, was there an elderly person who played a significant role in your life? What did you learn from them?



Enhance Your Book Club

1. Kirkus Reviews says My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry puts Backman “Firmly in league with Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman.” Read some of Dahl’s and Gaiman’s works and discuss them with your book club. Do you see any similarities between the works? What are they?

2. Granny’s fairytales provide comfort to Elsa. Why do you think that fairy tales are comforting to her and other children? Share some of your favorite fairy tales with your book club.

3. One of the themes in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is the attempt of one generation to reach another via fantastic stories, both successfully in the case of Elsa and Granny, and unsuccessfully in the case of Granny and Elsa’s mother. As a group, watch the movie Big Fish, which similarly explores this idea and contrast the ways in which the fairy tales in each story play a part in the intergenerational relationships.

Suggested by Members

After reading Britt Marie Was Here, I could not help but wonder which character in that book could be the subject of another novel.
by susier (see profile) 06/03/16

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by Ljwagoner (see profile) 03/20/17

 
by KarenUK (see profile) 03/14/17

 
by barb.bentzinger@gmail.com (see profile) 03/08/17

 
  "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry"by Dnjsc (see profile) 02/24/17

While confusing at times.. it kept me intrigued. The ending made everything fall into place.

 
  "Spicy little book"by jlove105 (see profile) 01/31/17

This book is full are sarcasm and delight. When I began reading this book I immediately text message my friend the title and author and told her she had to read this book. She asked if it would be a... (read more)

 
by jbecker (see profile) 01/22/17

A delight to read and follow the many threads that weave together in the end. Brilliant!!

 
by lmitchell (see profile) 11/30/16

 
by hands.amanda@gmail.com (see profile) 10/28/16

 
by Wvgirlygirl27 (see profile) 09/20/16

 
  "Amazing Story"by lmsmith32 (see profile) 09/19/16

A bit complicated at first to put all the pieces together - but totally worth it, Backman is tremendous at weaving this story together. So many memorable moments.

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