8.5 Every Xmas Tale Has a Happy Ending and Everyone Deserves a Second Chance
What a beautiful read! This is the second book I read from Fedrick Backman and it did not disappoint me. You cannot make out how good the book is from its awkward title (it might actually turn you away). Fedrick wrote with outlandish humor, satisfying ticklers and cunning twists.
Be ready to be amazed!
Fedrick is a master of vivid description of personality and unspoken emotion. This story centers around a big house and Elsa. Elsa, an almost 8-year-old yet very smart girl, recounts the story of her legendary granny and all the people around her granny. As usual, at the start of the book, Fedrick introduced an outrageous character – the granny. She smokes in front of Elsa, climbs fence of a zoo, roams naked in her daughter’s room (where her daughter’s partner co-habitats), swears expletives, does prank on neighbors. These were just few unspeakable deeds of this chaotic granny. But you will love her when she threw the globe at the school principal and said “I was provoked”.
A whole plethora of character co-live in a big house. Elsa’s mom who keeps everything in order; Alf sleeps during the day and loved the same woman with his brother; The nagging Britt-Marie (there is a separate book just on her) engages war with every neighbor under the name of resident association – which never existed; the woman with black skirt pretends to listen to music to avoid social interaction; Kent, who forever talks on the phone with German clients, likes to speak everything twice (as if hearing is the problem); the big dog, the retired soldier, the autistic boy and the murderous Sam are all memorable characters. Under the layers of obvious personality flaws, everyone had a story to be what they are. Complexity comes with experience. Characters compromise, let go and stubbornly hold on to thing which long lost its original context. What appears bizarre to bystanders is perfectly reasonable within. There is so much more to what meets the eye.
Who has time to understand others anyway, we have phones!
So Fedrick made fun at the characters’ expenses. He was so smooth in his sarcasm, they didn’t even know what hit them! He also wrote with intensity. It was satisfying to see Elsa slammed her book on the bonnets of the car behind, yelled all her frustration. At that Christmas, things broke down. Gripping series of events took place one after another, I was breathlessly turning the pages until things eventually settled down.
The entire book was narrated in a magical fairy tale. Carefully blended in the meticulous tickling words were wisdom and heartbreaking poignancy. It has been a while I so greedily savored the flavor between words. You will too.