Granny’s Great Assignment (Touching)
Elsa is seven years old and she’s different. And because she’s different, she’s bullied, teased, threatened, and beaten up on a regular basis. The one person who connected with her and protected her the most is her Granny who recently died. Granny understood Elsa because she too was different. She was an eccentric woman who played by her own rules and didn’t care if she was politically correct or not. Now Elsa feels alone and abandoned in an imaginary world Granny created for her. Before she passes away Granny asks Elsa to go on a treasure hunt—“a fairy tale of marvels and a grand adventure.” She sends Elsa to deliver a letter of apology to someone. That leads to more letters, and on her mission she learns more about the people to whom she delivers the letters. She discovers that people live behind false facades which hide the secrets of their past—including her grandmother.
I liked this book about acceptance and forgiveness. Elsa’s special bond with her grandmother was touching. It pulled at the heart strings. But there were a few things that threw me. The story itself brings up many questions along the way. In the end most things cinch together. However, I still felt a few items were unanswered and a few more were unbelievable (though those could easily be overlooked). The biggest drawback for me were the imaginary kingdoms. I had a hard time getting into the fantasy aspects of Elsa’s and Granny’s private world. Those with better imaginations would probably find that the best part of the book. My mom loved fairy tales and fantasy. She loved getting lost in other worlds like that. I think she would have loved Miamas, the princess, the Shadows, and Wolfheart.
For me, I think:
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is good.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is very, very good.
This was a book club selection and my members thought pretty much the same as me. While most liked the characters, almost everyone disliked the fantasy parts. In fact, a couple people didn't even finish the book. Those that did gave it a warmish though not whole-heartedly enthusiastic reception in the end.
Questions or comments? Email Readinginthegarden@gmail.com
 Fredrik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (New York, Washington Square Press, 2015) 41.