My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

This is the story of an “almost eight-year-old” girl named Elsa and her best friend: her grandmother. Elsa and her grandmother share the bond of being different, and her grandmother creates a wonderful fantasy world for Elsa to escape to when needed.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies, Elsa is left with her grandmother’s stories, both real and imaginary. Through a series of letters that Elsa’s grandmother left behind and asked Elsa to deliver, we discover the growing connection between the real world and the fantasy one.

This book, by the author of A Man Called Ove, is wonderfully creative. It often reminded me of the Dr. Seuss books, and any fairy tale, really, in that the lessons and observations were so often applicable to the real world. And what made the book even more compelling was how often these lessons seemed to be written for the world we are living in right now. For example, here is the precocious Elsa (the book is written in close 3rd person) on being bullied:

“It’s Wednesday. She’s running again. She doesn’t know the exact reason this time. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the last days before the Christmas holidays, and they know they won’t be able to chase anyone for several weeks now…it doesn’t matter. People who have never been hunted always seem to think there’s a reason for it…‘They wouldn’t do it without a cause, would they? You must have done something to provoke them.’ As if that’s how oppression works.”

I found myself dog-earing many pages (yes, I dog ear) so I could go back and read them again. While there are aspects of the story I’m not fond of, any book with a dozen dog ears by the end I have to nominate as a worthy read.


Jessica Null Vealitzek is a writer near Chicago. Her debut novel, The Rooms Are Filled, was published by She Writes Press in April 2014. She can be found online at her web site, on Facebook, and on Twitter.


Have you read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry? We’d love to hear what you think — please share in the comments below. Thanks!

Link to buy My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry at your local independent bookstore (we love them!) or at Indiebound by clicking here.


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  1. I’ve read this a year ago, and I also found myself drawn into the story and the imaginary world created by Elsa’s grandmother, which turned out not to be that imaginary after all. For me, too, there were aspect I was not crazy about (although by now I would have a hard time pinpointing them :)) But I was surprised how hooked I was, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book!

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    • Yes — I found myself wanting to pick it up to read it, wanting to note certain passages. Glad you enjoyed it, too!

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  2. I love this kind creative storytelling because it seems to turn my senses up a notch. I look forward to reading this one! Great review, Jess!

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  3. I love your recommendations Jess! You’ve definitely hooked me!

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