Title is from Britt-Marie Was Here. I’m glad the library had this one available, but I’m just going to buy it. I’m sure I’ll be reading it again.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I love Fredrik Backman. He quickly has become one of my favorite authors. He writes impossibly sweet books that leave me teary-eyed and laughing and relaxed and grateful, which is a stark contrast to how I feel most of the time, particularly after reading the news.
This post contains slight spoilers, so if you haven’t read Britt-Marie Was Here or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry or A Man Called Ove, you might want to rush immediately and read all of them before you come back here and read further. If you’re local, I have A Man Called Ove if you want to borrow it.
About mid-book, Britt-Marie Was Here starts a chapter with the statement, “At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?” This also pretty well sums up Backman’s writing. He weaves the faults and the triumphs of his characters together to reveal their impact on each other and the world through the small, everyday choices they make.
- The police officer who helps out a local kid with a shifty record because he didn’t become an officer because he loved rules so much as because he loved justice.
- Britt-Marie’s prim assurance to her unlikely friend that he’s not “the only one with tendencies to live a wild, irresponsible existence.” I love her so much.
- The social worker who tells Britt-Marie that she puts up with all the stress of her job because the sunny stories make it worthwhile…and that Britt-Marie is her sunny story.
- The confirmation that it’s not only okay to be different but that different is actually the best way to be – “Because all the best people are different – look at superheroes.”
- The usefulness of being a bit chaotic, because “when the real world crumbles, when everything else turns into chaos, then people like Elsa’s granny can sometimes be the only ones who stay functional.”
- The beautiful relationship between Ove and his wife, described with wonderful sentences such as “People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had,” and such exquisite moments as “She had a way of folding her index finger into his palm, hiding it inside. And he always felt that nothing in the world was impossible when she did that.”
And then gems such as this are sprinkled throughout: “The Monster looks at her as if she has just asked him to get naked, roll in saliva, and then run through a postage stamp factory with the lights off.”
You must read these books. I’m just going to keep gushing at you until you do. And then probably a little afterwards, too.