Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2015 – JULY READ – Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Published July 30, 2015 by bibliobeth

12727215

What’s it all about?:

Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. All she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma: she was once an international jewel thief and she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels. Now she needs Ben’s help.

What did I think?:

I began this book a bit cynical, I’m ashamed to say as I think that David Walliams does a brilliant job as a comedian but a children’s book author? I wasn’t sure. Well he proved me wrong. This is a fantastic and touching tale of a young boy’s relationship with his grandmother with everything included that children will just love (including the obligatory fart jokes, of course). There are also some beautiful illustrations by Tony Ross that were the icing on the cake for a story that is destined to become a classic.

Our main character is a young boy called Ben who doesn’t have the easiest relationship with his parents. They are die-hard fans of a show called Strictly Stars Dancing and as a result, are determined that their son should grow up to be a professional dancer rather than a plumber which is his real dream. They are often terribly busy on Friday nights, especially when they get the chance to go to a filming of the show so leave Ben with his grandmother, a visit which Ben comes to dread. For a start, all Ben’s grandma seems to be interested in is a game of Scrabble and then there is the cabbage. Cabbage soup, cabbage for dessert in the form of a cake, cabbage, cabbage everywhere! She even smells of cabbage and because she eats a lot of cabbage, her bottom seems to have a life and a voice of its own!

Ben is miserable and tells his parents exactly how he feels about poor old Granny, no holds barred. Then the next time he visits, Granny tells him an old and amazing secret…. when she was younger she was a prolific jewel thief, stealing rare and precious diamonds all over the world that once got her shot at and made her the world’s most wanted criminal. Ben is terribly excited about this new “gangsta granny,” that he has discovered and persuades her that she should try again to steal the Crown Jewels, something she never managed to do, with his help of course! Due to his interest in plumbing he has discovered a series of underground pipes below the Tower of London that they could swim through in order to get into the Tower. Granny agrees and the two begin formulating their plan, also forming a new, stronger relationship. However, there is a dancing competition the same night at the Town Hall and Ben might have told a little fib to his parents in that he wanted to be a dancer (to their delight, much better than that awful plumbing!). Will the two manage to carry out their plan? Will Ben have to dance at the Town Hall in a hideous “Love Bomb,” costume made by his Mum? Read it and find out!

As I mentioned at the start, David Walliams really surprised me with this book. I always knew it was going to be funny and there were some great moments of humour (like Granny’s naked yoga – yikes!) but I definitely wasn’t prepared for how much this book was going to touch me. It’s not just about Granny’s farty bottom or how insane Ben is going to look if he ever wears any of his Mum’s er…creative costumes? It’s about relationships, both parental and grand-parental and really makes you appreciate those older people in our lives or those that have sadly left us. I think it would be a lovely book to read in a classroom setting and may help younger children talk about things they are struggling with as well as making them laugh. I think Chrissi and I have now decided we are one hundred percent putting David Walliams on the Kid-Lit list for next year – sorry David, for ever doubting you!

For Chrissi’s fab review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

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Short Stories Challenge – Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules For Antarctic Tailgating by Karen Russell from the collection Vampires In The Lemon Grove

Published July 28, 2015 by bibliobeth

vampires

What’s Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules For Antarctic Tailgating all about?:

Our narrator Dougbert Shackleton provides the reader with his eleven essential rules for an Antarctic showdown between various teams of creatures in the Food Chain Games bloodbath.

What did I think?:

I’m almost finished with this particular short story collection and I’ve come to expect that I never know what to expect when I begin a new Karen Russell short story! This one was no exception. When I first started it I have to admit to feeling quite confused but that soon passed and I learned to appreciate her wry sense of humour with unusual events. Our narrator is probably the best advertising agent for what he calls the Food Chain Games and Antarctic Tailgating. He compares it to the relatively new business of “tailgating” in America which translates as a social gathering with food from parked vehicles usually at a football game. Antarctic tailgating is a little bit different however. In that your vehicle is a boat, your meals may resemble war rations, there’s a real danger of frostbite oh yes and it’s in Antarctica!

Dougbert seems to have a real passion for the “sport,” and always supports the underdog that is, Team Krill. They may have lost to their arch nemesis Team Whale in past years and don’t really have so much of a defence strategy but they have a strong attack i.e. there being a great number of them. Some people even go the whole hog and get costumed up for the match – Dougbert himself recommends the plastic Krill eyes on sticks to show his support:

“Science hasn’t proven the efficacy of tailgating in costume (yet) but we believe that the visible support we provide to Team Krill by dressing up and moving our antennae and plastic krill thoraxes in the characteristic undulant motion of a school of krill is vital to their eventual victory against Team Whale.”

The krill are encouraged by their cheering, honest!

Dougbert tells us that he has seventeen seasons of experience with Antarctic tailgating and is therefore the most reliable person to offer us, the reader, some genuine tips and tricks for joining in the fun. This varies from Rule One: Make friends with your death to the more practical Rule Five: Wear Team Krill colors – but insulate. This is very important when you’re in those freezing temperatures I’m certain. And the actual match may only last about twenty seconds and take eight months of planning for but Dougbert seems to feel a real sense of being alive and part of something much larger and brighter than his regular life, where his wife has left him for a “millionaire motel-chain-owning douchebag fan of Team Whale.” So who are we to judge?

After my initial confusion when I started this story, I really ended up thoroughly enjoying it. The style of listing the eleven rules was quirky and the idea itself so unique and fun to read about that I immersed myself in this strange little world where our food chain is broken down into teams of animals that fight against each other to survive. The humour was brilliant, just the thought of groups of men dressed up with googly Krill eyes on their heads is definitely worth a chuckle or three in my opinion. Karen Russell is so inventive and precise with detail when she creates these fantasy worlds that you could almost believe in their existence. For me, it’s Team Krill all the way!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Man With The Twisted Lip by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

 

Banned Books #13 Detour For Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds with Chrissi Reads

Published July 27, 2015 by bibliobeth

bannedbooks

374773

What’s it all about?:

A selection of ALA Best Books for Young Adults, this novel tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who must face the consequences of becoming pregnant.

bannedbooks

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our seventh book of 2015 and the thirteenth book in our series of Banned/Challenged Books. We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. This is what we’ll be reading for the rest of 2015 – the post will go out on the last Monday of each month so if you’d like to read along with us, you are more than welcome.

AUGUST

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Chosen by : Beth

SEPTEMBER

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Chosen by: Chrissi

OCTOBER

Forever by Judy Blume

Chosen by : Beth

NOVEMBER

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Chosen by : Chrissi

DECEMBER

Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes

Chosen by: Beth

But back to this month….

Detour For Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds

Chosen by : Chrissi

First published:  1993

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2005 (source)
Chosen by: Chrissi
Reasons:  sexual content
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Challenged…. perhaps. I’m not really sure. There is only one really detailed sex scene which is certainly nothing in comparison to books like Judy Blume’s Forever (also a Banned Book on our list this year!). The rest of the sexual content I don’t think is anything teenagers wouldn’t talk about at school between themselves or find in other books even before sex on the internet became so prominent i.e. when this book was first published. I can’t really see it being taught in classrooms at that time.

CHRISSI: Yes and no. I can see why it would make some teachers uncomfortable to study it with children. But as a general book for the school library/to recommend to teenagers? No, not at all. I think all too often sexual content is shied away from and there really shouldn’t be such a fuss made of sexual content in books. I sometimes think the more a teenager is told not to read something, the more they want to! I actually think Emmy comes across as very strong in this book. She is determined to have a good life for her child and live with the consequences of being a teen mum.

How about now?

BETH: Nowadays, as I mentioned in the previous section, teenagers have access to much more explicit sexual content compared to what is written about in this book. I think it’s a great book for teenagers to read as it’s real-to-life and stresses the important of contraception if teenagers are going to be having sex, something I think is very important. It also shows that things go wrong, people let you down, you have a hard choice in front of you and your life could change forever but if you have dreams, they are still achievable – you may just need to adjust them slightly. I don’t see a problem with school libraries making this book available for students to read as the messages in it are too important to get political about.

CHRISSI: I think it should be read by teenagers and young adults. I certainly don’t think it’s overly explicit. Nothing in the book totally shocked me and I feel it dealt with some issues that needed to be addressed. Emmy doesn’t have the best home life and I think it’s important that this is represented in fiction, as some young adults (and adults alike!) could totally relate to this! Her boyfriend is a complete idiot too… something else that other young adults/adults might relate to! ;)

What did you think of this book?

BETH: It’s a good read – perhaps I didn’t relate to it completely as I’m a bit above the age bracket it’s aimed towards but I appreciated what the book was trying to say and support the author in that. I think that teenagers would relate to the characters and enjoy the story. I also liked that it explored other themes like parenting, race and friendship.

CHRISSI: I don’t think it’s a book that will totally stay with me for a long time. I didn’t find it overly memorable, but I enjoyed reading it and think it should definitely be out there for teenagers!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’s personal star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Join us again on the last Monday of August when we will be discussing my choice of Banned Book – Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

bannedbooks

 

The Wrong Boy – Suzy Zail

Published July 23, 2015 by bibliobeth

13338887

What’s it all about?:

The story of a Jewish girl sent to Auschwitz with her family. She falls in love with the wrong boy – the German son of the camp commander.

Hanna is a talented pianist, and the protected second daughter of middle class Hungarian Jews. Relatively late in World War II the Budapest Jews were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. Hanna and her mother and sister are separated from her father. Her mother becomes increasingly mentally ill until she too is taken away somewhere. Her sister Erika is slowly starving to death. Hanna is quite a naïve 15-year-old but when presented with the opportunity to play piano for the camp commander, she is desperate to be chosen. She goes each day under guard to the commander’s house and stands waiting in case the commander should want some music. Also living in the house is the commander’s son, Karl. A handsome young man who seems completely disengaged from what is happening around him. Hanna hates him as he sits drawing in the music room. But the longer Hanna goes to the house, the more she realises there are other things going on. Secret things. Karl may not be the person she thinks he is. Before she knows it she has fallen in love with the wrong boy.

What did I think?:

The Wrong Boy was one of my must-read picks for Chrissi Cupboard Month back in December 2014 after once again my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads begged me to read it. By the end, I think I loved it more than she did. I’m very interested in anything Holocaust related and a book from the point of view of a Jewish girl that is sent to a concentration camp instantly appealed. The story begins near the end of World War II where our main character Hanna is living in a Jewish ghetto with her parents and older sister, Erika. However, it is not long before German soldiers come to the ghetto, round up the entire Jewish community and ship them off to the terrifying camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The family barely have a chance to gather up some belongings but Hanna manages to take one of the black keys from her beloved piano as she is a talented pianist and had recently been offered a place at a prestigious music school.

Not only is the journey to the camp bad enough as hundreds of people are packed into trucks like cattle but Hanna, her mother and her sister are separated from their father with no idea if they would ever meet again. Before he is led away, Hanna’s father manages to extract an emotional promise from her – that she would fight her hardest to survive this process so that she can tell people in the future exactly how they were treated. Once inside the camp the family are reduced to a pitiful and almost animal-like status where their heads are shaved, they are kept in uncomfortable and very cramped living quarters and are worked back-breakingly hard in the fields. They survive on meagre portions of food that reduce their bodies to mere skeletons where the tiny portions of bread that they eat are mould-infested and hard as bricks. Then there are the constant threats that they could be killed instantly just for not being able to stand up during the roll call every morning. What makes things worse is that Hanna’s sister Erika who is normally an outspoken and strong character seems to be fading away a little more each day while Hanna’s mother is sinking deep into the realms of insanity.

One day, Hanna’s music teacher spots her amongst the prisoners and manages to engineer the chance for Hanna to audition to be the official pianist for the Commander of the camp. She secures the role and as a result is guaranteed to be in warm surroundings and to have a pair of shoes to wear. Although playing for the Commander and his silent and intimidating son Karl disgusts her Hanna sees it as a good opportunity to procure extra bits of food so that her sister can be encouraged to survive. However, Hanna isn’t expecting the effect the Commander’s son is going to have on her, especially when she discovers that he may be sympathetic to her situation. Soon Hanna finds herself in a very dangerous predicament of being in love with the wrong boy and, in a world where even playing the wrong note could be a death sentence for her Hanna is walking on a very thin tightrope if she is going to survive Auschwitz.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is an achingly beautiful and heart breaking account of a terrible period in our land’s history that we can only hope will never ever be repeated. I didn’t realise until the end of the book that the author’s father had actually survived the horror of Auschwitz himself. This gives a startling authenticity to her words and one can only imagine the brutality that the prisoners of the camps had to endure. Hanna is a wonderful, strong and incredibly brave heroine and I was rooting for her throughout the book as she falls in love for the first time in the worst possible circumstances with the most unsuitable partner at the wrong time! I don’t want to say too much about the ending but for me it was a perfect finale that still holds that glimmer of sadness. This is a really thought-provoking and thrilling read and I’m looking forward to picking up The Tattooed Flower which is a non-fiction account of the author’s fathers’ time in Auschwitz.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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A Want Of Kindness – Joanne Limburg

Published July 21, 2015 by bibliobeth

25706817

What’s it all about?:

Every time I see the King and the Queen, I am reminded of what it is I have done, and then I am afraid, I am beyond all expression afraid.

The wicked, bawdy Restoration court is no place for a child princess. Ten-year-old Anne cuts an odd figure: a sickly child, she is drawn towards improper pursuits. Cards, sweetmeats, scandal and gossip with her Ladies of the Bedchamber figure large in her life. But as King Charles’s niece, Anne is also a political pawn, who will be forced to play her part in the troubled Stuart dynasty.

As Anne grows to maturity, she is transformed from overlooked Princess to the heiress of England. Forced to overcome grief for her lost children, the political manoeuvrings of her sister and her closest friends and her own betrayal of her father, she becomes one of the most complex and fascinating figures of English history.

What did I think?:

A Want Of Kindness was a nice little surprise for me when it came clattering through my letterbox. It’s part of The Real Readers review system from the lovely team over at New Books Magazine (which I receive quarterly) and their companion web site http://www.nudge.com so many thanks to them for the opportunity to read this novel. My first impressions were definitely favourable it being a historical fiction title, a genre which I thoroughly enjoy and it tells the story of Queen Anne, one of our least known monarchs from history here in the UK. My own knowledge about Anne is incredibly hazy I have to admit and I relished the chance to learn more about the last Stuart monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland.

The story is told in chronological order from Anne’s childhood through to just before she ascended the throne with a lovely family tree at the beginning which was very useful as more characters came into play and I flicked backwards to remember where they fit in the scheme of things. As a fictional account it is quite slow going at first but becomes a lot more interesting when Anne’s father, James II is toppled from his throne because of his Catholic faith in favour of Anne’s sister Mary and her Dutch born husband, William. Anne would continue to feel guilty for the manner in which her father was deposed for the rest of her life but is devoted to her Protestant faith.

During her sister’s reign the relationship between Anne and Mary becomes increasingly strained and immediately before Mary’s death, the sisters have barely met or spoken at all. This is mainly down to Mary’s insistence that Anne’s beloved friends should be removed from the inner circle at court, something Anne is adamant will not happen as she relies on them unequivocally and would be distraught without them. Her status and finances are also challenged to the point where the sisters become completely estranged. This is represented beautifully by the author in the form of letters between the sisters (taken from actual letters in the royal archive).

William and Mary died leaving no heirs to the throne and Anne feels under great pressure to produce children. One of the saddest parts of the book for me was the trauma that Anne went through after seventeen pregnancies with her husband, Prince George of Denmark resulted in miscarriages, stillbirths, infants that died shortly after birth or those that died in early childhood. She managed to have one son who lived to the age of eleven but who then succumbed to what was believed to be smallpox or scarlet fever. The way in which Joanne Limburg presents Anne’s struggles with each loss is admirable and no-one can help but be moved by the way in which Anne deals with her grief and tries to move on.

Anne herself was quite a sickly creature and a bit too fond of the sweetmeats and other rich foods available to her which led to her putting on quite a bit of weight. She also suffered from gout, survived a nasty bout of smallpox and had frequent pains in her limbs all of which led to her becoming quite lame on bad days or unable to move at all. She died in the August of 1714 after another bout of ill health but the author does not take us as far as this choosing to end the novel just before Anne begins her reign as Queen.

Overall, I thought this was a clearly well researched and interesting historical novel. I don’t think I could compare it to authors such as Philippa Gregory or Alison Weir as the style of writing was quite different which I found both an advantage and a disadvantage as a reader. I loved that the chapters were short and snappy, some of which only amounted to half a page and as mentioned above, I did enjoy that a lot of the novel was made up of letters. Unfortunately, in my copy I found the font used for the letters quite difficult on the eye and it made reading them more of a chore then it should have been.

There were occasional periods also when the writing felt a bit too stilted as it moved from chapter to chapter which led to the story not flowing as well as I would have liked. It would also have been lovely to read a bit more about Anne as she finally becomes Queen as I was starting to become very interested in how her life would pan out. However, if you’re a fan of historical fiction and, like me, curious about the life of one of the more mysterious monarchs it’s a great read. Warning, be prepared for a rush of emotions as one by one, Anne’s children and potential heirs to the throne pass away – it definitely made an impact on me!

A Want Of Kindness was published on 2nd July by Atlantic Books and is available from all good book retailers now.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

 

 

Short Stories Challenge – A Telephone Call by Dorothy Parker from the collection The Story: Love, Loss and The Lives of Women, 100 Great Stories

Published July 20, 2015 by bibliobeth

18395737

What’s A Telephone Call all about?:

A woman over-obsesses about a telephone call she is waiting for from a man she is seeing to the point where she seems to lose her senses.

What did I think?:

A Telephone Call is the first story in this collection of short stories written by women and edited by Victoria Hislop. Prior to the story beginning we are given a short and snappy biography about the author which I really appreciated as a reader. Dorothy Parker was born in 1893 in New Jersey, America and was best known as a critic, satirist, poet and of course, short story writer. In general, I thought this was a brilliant little tale which was perfectly organised and original in style.

It is written from the point of view of an unnamed female narrator who is awaiting a telephone call from a man who is, so far, two hours late in calling. Now I think probably every female has probably been in this situation (perhaps to a milder extent) as we eagerly anticipate a phone call in the first flushes of love. For this particular woman it becomes an almost dangerous obsession where she runs the risk of serious psychological damage as she goes through a variety of emotions including despair, anger and hope as she tries to convince herself there is a valid reason why he has not phoned when he said he would.

The reader is swept into our narrator’s inner monologue which is actually a conversation with God where she pleads with him to make her lover call and continually questions her own emotions. This leads to a disastrous conflict as the turmoil in her mind threatens to make her crazy, instigates obsessive compulsive behaviours such as believing the phone will ring if she counts to five hundred first and provokes outbursts like the following:

“Why can’t that telephone ring? Why can’t it, why can’t it? Couldn’t you ring? Ah, please, couldn’t you? You damned, ugly, shiny thing. It would hurt you to ring, wouldn’t it? Oh, that would hurt you. Damn you, I’ll pull your filthy roots out of the wall, I’ll smash your smug black face in little bits. Damn you to hell.”

This is a perfect example of the twisting and turning of our characters emotions which leads ultimately to anger until the cycle begins again. The poor woman appears to be in a Catch 22 situation where she feels that she cannot ring her lover herself as it is not what society expects of her or is what men want/find attractive but is in danger of going mad if she does not phone. At one point, she even wishes her lover dead as perhaps that would be a better outcome than admitting to herself that he does not love her like she loves him. By the end of the story, she seems to find herself in an endless loop as she once again begins to count to five hundred by which time she is sure that the phone will have rung.

I was immediately drawn into this fantastically conceived story although at times it made uncomfortable reading. It seemed like a very private insight into one woman’s thoughts and beliefs and I felt like a trespasser or voyeur reading about her intense discomfort. I would have loved to know if the telephone had eventually rung but in my own warped imagination I feel that sadly it would have not. I think the author is also making a powerful statement about women’s place in the world and, possibly, the difference in our emotional states when compared with men. I’ll definitely be checking out some more of this author’s work, many thanks to Victoria Hislop for bringing her fiction to my attention!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

imagesCAF9JG4S

NEXT SHORT STORY: Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules For Antarctic Tailgating by Karen Russell from the collection Vampires In The Lemon Grove

 

 

Talking About A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman with Chrissi Reads

Published July 16, 2015 by bibliobeth

18774964

What’s it all about?:

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fryand Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

What did WE think?:

CHRISSI: The emotional strength of the novel hangs on our view of Ove. Discuss how the author draws the character.

BETH: I definitely agree about the emotional strength hanging on how we view the character. Ove is both our main character and narrator with not too many additional characters on the sidelines to hide behind. I think the author was very clever in how he created Ove as he made him very “real to life.” He was someone with a lot of flaws but also someone we could believe in with a back story that instantly tugs at your heart strings.

BETH: What did you think of the writing style of this book?

CHRISSI: I thought it was immediately engaging. I remember saying to you that I thought it had a very unique vibe about it. I was pulled into the story and found myself racing through the story. It captured my attention and kept it throughout.

CHRISSI: What were your first impressions of Ove?

BETH: It might sound a little strange but actually I warmed to him almost immediately! He was an intensely grumpy, rigid old man that was completely stuck in his ways but he also had so many redeeming qualities and reasons why he acted the way he did. I think in a lot of ways, Ove was very misunderstood and he had a heart of gold and although he complained a lot I really believe it was a front that he put up to protect himself.

BETH: Discuss the relationship between Ove and his wife.

CHRISSI: The relationship between Ove and his wife really touched my heart. It was clear to me how much Ove adored his wife. It came across like Ove couldn’t believe his luck, he really didn’t seem to understand why he deserved her. They were so different to one another, yet they had such a special connection. A beautiful relationship. I found his grief over his wife to be absolutely heart-breaking.

CHRISSI: Discuss the relationship between Ove and Parvaneh.

BETH: From the moment that Ove and Parvaneh first meet – when her “idiot” husband is driving and reversing (very bady) in a clearly labelled no drive area in the neighbourhood I thought this is going to be interesting! I think Parvaneh is one of the few people that sees Ove for who he really is and genuinely worries about him, as she has cause to in the early part of this novel. I loved their quite fiery remarks to each other and the way their relationship develops to where Ove has a (grudgingly) newfound respect for her.

BETH: The author treads a fine line between humour and sadness in the novel. Which do you feel wins out?

CHRISSI: This is a tricky question, because there is such a fine line between humour and sadness. I think it’s really going to be down to individual opinion on which one wins out, but for me, I thought the sadness did. It was a heart breaking read that touched my heart, but that was because of the sadness. The absolute despair that Ove was experiencing. The love for Ove’s wife was so strong, it was hard to read about his struggles with his grief and how he felt his world was ending. I did really enjoy the humorous elements of the story though. I think this book would have been depressing without some light relief!

CHRISSI: What message did you take away from this book?

BETH: I think there were quite a few take home messages from this book and I can see why it has become a bit of a talking point. A lot of it is about not judging a person until you get to know them, respecting the older generation by realising they have had a lot of life experience and as a result can give very good advice. It’s incredibly funny and poignant as well as a beautiful love story and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

BETH: Would you read another novel by this author?

CHRISSI: I think I would. The writing was engaging and the story was touching!

 

Would WE recommend it?:

CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH: But of course!

 

CHRISSI’s star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

BETH’s star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

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