Fredrick Backman’s My Mother Sends Her Regards and Apologies is hilarious, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time | Book Review
Fredrick Backman’s My Mother Sends Her Regards and Apologies is hilarious, heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
My Mother Sends Her Regards and Apologies is Swedish author Fredrik Backman’s second book – a bestseller. The first was A man Called Ove, a bestseller, too.
It is about Elsa, a seven years old girl who is ‘different’. Her granny is a 77 years old ‘eccentric’ person. Elsa reads ‘quality literature’ like Harry Potter and X Men. She gets bullied by schoolmates, gets beaten up, but still puts up a fight.She has no friends except for her superhero – granny!
Her granny is eccentric and displays total disregard for social norms and etiquette, also spellings. For instance, she once breaks into a zoo and throws turds at cops who try to stop her and Elsa. Then at the police station throws a tantrum because people are too ‘politically correct’ to not let her smoke in the no-smoking zone. She narrates some fantastic stories from the make-believe world of the Land-of-Almost-Awake. She flirts with policemen, throws vase on Elsa’s principal, for latter’s sexist attitude – and those are just a few things she does.
When granny dies leaving behind a series of letters apologising to people, she trusts Elsa with the task of handing over those letters to different people. And thus begins her adventure.
As you read through it, you laugh and you cry. You fall in love with Elsa, granny and all other characters. Also, realize that granny is an amazing human being. The insightfully endearing book will be enjoyed by kids as much as adults. The writer touches upon themes like domestic abuse, and adultery, some may not find it okay for kids. But I thought I’d give it to my kids (when I have them), I have given it to my friends already.
It gives some important lessons without being didactic. Like how one shouldn’t judge others – that, I know, is such a overdone ‘lesson’, but the way it’s delivered in the book, it doesn’t bore.
The Land-of-Almost-Awake, where most of Elsa’s stories come from, may need you to stretch your imagination. To be honest, I skipped some part of these stories, they were too stressful for my imagination. Later, I realised that these stories were actually about other characters, but even then, I didn’t want to go back and read those parts.
But barring that, the book from Hachette India is a total delight, hilarious, witty, and very moving. You will read it with a smile on your lips and a lump in your throat. It is heartbreaking, hilarious and heartwarming in equal measures. A book that you, your child and your granny will like.
Title: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs. 399