Author: Jonas Jonasson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Humor, Contemporary
Blurb: It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century.
Me: Hilarious! Came to me during a reading slump, and completely cured it. Such a nice change to a lot of the dramatic books I've been reading lately.
The Ups: This book is hugely popular across the world, and the moment I saw it, its title made me curious. The rest of the book didn't disappoint. In general, the whole premise was so ridiculous and unexpected that the whole thing seemed like a slightly demented sit-com. I say demented because death was involved more than a few times, but I have to say, even the murders were crazy and zany.
The characters are not the center of this story, and I think I liked that distance. Allan seems to be a senile, stubborn old man, and the friends he picks up on the way are anything but normal. (One of them is an elephant named Sonya). Because I didn't see into the minds of these characters, and felt more like an amused passerby, it made their story seem more and more like a far-fetched tale.
Quite a lot of world history pops up in this book, as it is revealed that Allan has had quite a lot of influence over the past century on the happenings of this planet. Yet with all of the political figures that appeared, Allan's nonchalant positivity made figures like Stalin and Harry Truman seem vulnerable and quite...pathetic. Politics, and any type of rules in general are done better without in Allan's life, and it's a philosophy that enters the reader's mind.
I was in a stressed, busy, opposite-of-entertained mood when I picked this book up, and it was so easy to breeze through. Its witty humor is EXACTLY what I enjoy, and I just have to say: Thanks for the laughs :)
The Downs: However, at times, I would find myself bored in the chapters about Allan's past, mostly because there was quite a bit of explaining done every time. It also made me feel incredibly uneducated on world history! Eek!
I also think the humor might not be for everyone. It certainly isn't dirty, or crass humor, which is nice, but there is a lot of tongue-in-cheek style wit. But then, humor is always relative, and I think these wacky stories will have most people laughing!
Overall: A great choice for light laughter, and a reminder that life can be as crazy and exciting as we make it.
"Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be.”
Rating: 4 kisses!