The Red Address Book

The Red Address Book


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“Written with love, told with joy. Very easy to enjoy.”—Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove

For fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared comes a heartwarming debut about 96-year-old Doris, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come . . .

Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny—her American grandniece, and her only relative—give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.

When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colorful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War—can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?

A charming novel that prompts reflection on the stories we all should carry to the next generation, and the surprises in life that can await even the oldest among us, The Red Address Book introduces Sofia Lundberg as a wise—and irresistible—storyteller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328473011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 33,660
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sofia Lundberg is a journalist and former magazine editor. Her debut novel, The Red Address Book, will be published in 28 territories worldwide. She lives in Stockholm with her son.

Read an Excerpt

The saltshaker. The pillbox. The bowl of lozenges. The blood-pressure monitor in its oval plastic case. The magnifying glass and its red-bobbin-lace strap, taken from a Christmas curtain, tied in three fat knots. The phone with the extra-large numbers. The old red-leather address book, its bent corners revealing the yellowed paper within. She arranges everything carefully, in the middle of the kitchen table. They have to be lined up just so. No creases on the neatly ironed baby-blue linen tablecloth.
A moment of calm as she looks out at the street and the dreary weather. People rushing by, with and without umbrellas. The bare trees. The gravelly slush on the asphalt, water trickling through it.
A squirrel darts along a branch, and a flash of happiness twinkles in her eyes. She leans forward, following the blurry little creature’s movements carefully. Its bushy tail swings from side to side as it moves lithely between branches. Then it jumps down to the road and quickly disappears, heading off to new adventures.
It must almost be time to eat, she thinks, stroking her stomach. She picks up the magnifying glass and with a shaking hand raises it to her gold wristwatch. The numbers are still too small, and she has no choice but to give up. She clasps her hands calmly in her lap and closes her eyes for a moment, awaiting the familiar sound at the front door.

“Did you nod off, Doris?”
An excessively loud voice abruptly wakes her. She feels a hand on her shoulder, and sleepily tries to smile and nod at the young caregiver who is bending over her.
“I must have.” The words stick, and she clears her throat.
“Here, have some water.” The caregiver is quick to hold out a glass, and Doris takes a few sips.
“Thank you . . . Sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name.” It’s a new girl again. The old one left; she was going back to her studies.
“It’s me, Doris. Ulrika. How are you today?” she asks, but she doesn’t stop to listen to the answer.
Not that Doris gives one.
She quietly watches Ulrika’s hurried movements in the kitchen. Sees her take out the pepper and put the saltshaker back in the pantry. In her wake she leaves creases in the tablecloth.
“No extra salt, I’ve told you,” Ulrika says, with the tub of food in her hand. She gives Doris a stern look. Doris nods and sighs as Ulrika peels back the plastic wrap. Sauce, potatoes, fish, and peas, all mixed together, are tipped out onto a brown ceramic plate. Ulrika puts the plate in the microwave and turns the dial to two minutes. The machine starts up with a faint whirr, and the scent of fish slowly begins to drift through the apartment. While she waits, Ulrika starts to move Doris’s things: she stacks the newspapers and mail in a messy pile, takes the dishes out of the dishwasher.
“Is it cold out?” Doris turns back to the heavy drizzle. She can’t remember when she last set foot outside her door. It was summer. Or maybe spring.
“Yeah, ugh, winter’ll soon be here. The raindrops almost felt like tiny lumps of ice today. I’m glad I’ve got the car so I don’t have to walk. I found a space on your street, right outside the door. The parking’s actually much better in the suburbs, where I live. It’s hopeless here in town, but sometimes you get lucky.” The words stream from Ulrika’s mouth, then her voice becomes a faint hum. A pop song; Doris recognizes it from the radio. Ulrika whirls away. Dusts the bedroom. Doris can hear her clattering around and hopes she doesn’t knock over the vase, the hand-painted one she’s so fond of.
When Ulrika returns, she is carrying a dress over one arm. It’s burgundy, wool, the one with bobbled arms and a thread hanging from the hem. Doris had tried to pull it loose the last time she wore the dress, but the pain in her back made it impossible to reach below her knees. She holds out a hand to catch it now, but grasps at thin air when Ulrika suddenly turns and drapes the dress over a chair. The caregiver comes back and starts to loosen Doris’s dressing gown. She gently pulls the arms free and Doris whimpers quietly, her bad back sending a wave of pain into her shoulders. It’s always there, day and night. A reminder of her age.
“I need you to stand up now. I’ll lift you on the count of three, OK?” Ulrika places an arm around her, helps her to her feet, and pulls the dressing gown away.

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The Red Address Book 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Jill Hamilton-Krawczyk More than 1 year ago
The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg is beautifully written, unique, joyous and heartbreaking... you won’t be able to put it down—guaranteed! Doris is a 96-year-old woman living in Stockholm. She has only one living relative—her great niece, Jenny, who lives in the the United States. This novel is part fictional memoir, part historical fiction, part romance and and one hundred percent amazing! The reader learns about and falls in love with Doris as she reminisces through her red address book which contains the names of all the people she has met thoughout her very eventful life. Most of the names are crossed out with DEAD written next to them. So her memories do not die with her, Doris records her life on paper for Jenny to read. This is a most charming book that I very much enjoyed! Bravo!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take out your address book, if you have one. And begin writing your story.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Both of my grandmothers had address books, that they would keep on the shelf, with names and addresses added, crossed off, and with little notes attached to mark birthdays, anniversaries and occasions. One of my grandmothers had extended her note-taking of friends, relatives and acquaintances to one of the many books in which she kept recipes – all noted with substitutions, what does and doesn’t work, and notes about how well (or not) a dish was received. Here, Lundberg brings us the story of Doris, now at 96, she is using her own book to create a story of her life to share with her grandniece Jenny, living in the US. Weekly Skype calls are among the only ‘visitors’ that Doris has now, and this trip through a book that she was given by her father as a child becomes the jumping-off point to tell the tale of Doris’ life. Oh I found this story so engrossing and engaging! Clear moments from point A to B are suddenly disrupted by a memory or choice in Doris’ life that bring us along in ways unexpected, but always intriguing. Revealing connections that become an ersatz love story, with the one ‘true’ love of her life gradually revealing as her tale comes to life, Doris is experiencing something of a romp through the emotions as she travels down this lane of memories that will uncover her story. Most of her memories are wonderfully sweet, with a few choices and situations that are almost heartbreaking even these many years later, Doris’ story illuminates her life in ways unexpected – but what a glorious way to share the innermost bits of your life with your family. Starting a bit slow while the end seems to feel less cohesive and well-presented, the story brings a sense of a life fully lived at the end of the journey, uncovering secrets, joys and long ago loves that endure to the end. This is not a ‘devour it” book, but one that requires you to sit back and enjoy the journey, discovering more about Doris, and perhaps a bit about yourself as memories are jogged and the ideas of ‘looking back’ take hold. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: al conclusions are my own responsibility.
judgie39 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. I could not put it down. Doris’s red address book was a gift from her father before he passed away unexpectedly. Now she is 96 years old and is looking back on her life and the names (many of them dead) in her book. The Red Address book is about Doris recalling the people in her life that have had both positive and negative effects on her life. The Red Address Book was an emotional roller coaster and I did not want to get off. The idea that Doris wants to write down her memories, so the people in her life are not forgotten, is heartwarming. There were many times while reading that I was reminded of my grandmother and her personal stories. Doris shows us that life can be messy, but also filled with joy. She is also a reminder to take the time to talk to your older relatives and spend time with the people you love.
CharJones2525 4 months ago
A poignant retelling of a life through the pages of a long-held address book. Incredibly sad, always moving, as 96-year-old Doris recounts her life to her grandniece. From a poverty-stricken childhood, a modeling career in Paris, life in America, and now alone in Sweden, with the names of so many cherished people she’s outlived crossed out in her book. 4/5 Pub Date 08 Jan 2019. Thanks to the author, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheRedAddressBook #NetGalley
bfaajs 9 months ago
I was given this memoir to read for a true and honest review from Bookish First. Thank you for offering this read. I just finished it and there are happy tears in my eyes. This is one of those books that you do not want to end. I did not expect to enjoy reading this book so much. It is a well told story of love, with entries made in an address book. It is Doris' life story as she is telling It to her great niece Jenny. The book goes back and forth from the present to the past. The characters are real and believable. This is one of those books that you do not want to end. All in all it was a very enjoyable read. I certainly will read others by this author and truly recommend this book.
JasmeetGill 9 months ago
This story talks about a red address book used by Doris. On certain pages, there are titles which will say the person's name and the story that goes along with it is magnificent. Doris' carer is a very modern character as well as Doris using the internet to go on Facebook and, in general, social media. I adore Doris' father in the first bit because he was loving and Doris always sat in his lap and was always hugged by him. I feel like it was sad for her father to have died when she was a young age due to the fact that she mourned his death for a month and out of the blue her mother announced that she would stop attending school and would go work for Dominique, a very wealthy lady. I personally think that the fact that she was touched by men is disgusting but does create an excellent storyline.
LouiseFoerster 9 months ago
Doris is old--96 years old and living alone in an apartment in Stockholm. Her red address book is a cherished reminder of the life she has lived, vivid and detailed through times and experiences that few can imagine, veering from young, beautiful, and dazzling in Paris to struggles in America and Europe later on. Most of her beloveds have died or been lost to her, but not her grand-niece Jenny who lives in the United States who is devoted to her loving Dossi who raised her, made possible her own wonderful life. Through memories and present day struggles, Lundberg tells a gripping story about love, loss, and living the best that one can do. Her language, her characters are exceptionally well-wrought, complex and entrancing. I admit to more than a minor crush on several of her closest friends and lovers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a little slow in the beginning and a little hard to keep up with as it flips back and forth between time periods, but then it really pulled me in and I got into the flow of the writing. I finished it the same day I started it to see what the ending would be. I even shed a few tears. In the beginning though, I wasn't sure if it was just going to go through her address book and have a short vignette on each person who had passed away, but that doesn't go on for very long.
Elena_L More than 1 year ago
"The red address book" is a story about 96-year-old Doris - living alone in her Stockholm apartment- and her address book. Through her writing, she helps her American grandniece Jenny and uncovers some family's past. Sofia Lundberg writes beautifully Doris melancholic and insightful life: her hard start as a house maid in Sweden followed by the rich and complicated phase in Paris then in Manhattan. The story is sentimental and heart-wrenching - you find yourself reflecting on her colorful past and all her (sad) experiences. Approaching relatable themes with easy language, it gives you some meaningful points of view. All the facts that happened in Doris's life were quite traumatic but told in a "light-hearted" way. Furthermore, the main character is completely charming and well-developed. Doris' relationship with Jenny and Allan were unparalleled and so true - I was moved by her genuine care for Jenny and her endless feelings for Allan. I have to emphasize that the ending had me tearing up and all my emotions overflowed. Personally, I loved Sofia writing which made this book a real page-turner. Highly recommend "The red address book"!
Carolefort More than 1 year ago
The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg was first published in Sweden in 2017. The book has since been translated to English by Alice Menzies and is available as of January 2019. This novel documents the sentimental journey of Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in Stockholm. Her only living relative is Jenny, her grandniece who lives in the US with her young family. The two women skype once a week and have a close and loving relationship. Doris was given a red address book by her father when she was a child. Throughout her long life, she wrote in many names of people who were part of her journey. In her old age, she started to write the story of each person in her book so that Jenny would know the history of Doris and herself. In failing health, Doris cannot forget one man who passed in and out of her life. Whatever happened to him? This small novel is a beautiful story of one woman's life. It is a little gem. Highly recommended. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
mkdmom More than 1 year ago
This book told the life story of a 90-something year old woman through the entries in her address book. I found Doris' story to be quite interesting. She was an extremely strong person who besides surviving WWII, also survived many heartaches and challenges in her long life. I loved that she was writing her life story for the benefit of her great niece Jenny. She wanted her to know about her entire life, not just the bits and pieces you normally learn about an older relative. Reading this made we wish I had asked my older relatives about their lives...they also lived through challenging times and I wonder what that was like. Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this book for review.
SammyReadsBooks More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars for “The Red Address Book” by Sofia Lindbergh. What a charming and heartwarming story. Doris is 96 and currently living in Stockholm with nurses checking on her. The only family she has is Jenny, her grand-niece, who lives in San Francisco so they only Skype once a week. Doris is lonely, and begins to look through her red address book, a gift given to her from her father when she is a child. There are many names of people she has met throughout her life, most crossed out with the word “dead” written next to them. Doris wants to leave Jenny the story of her life so reminisces while looking through the red address book. She tells stories of her time as a maid when she was just a teenager in Stockholm and her friend, Gosta, that she met there. She tells stories of when she moved to Paris and became a living mannequin. Paris is also where she meets Allan, the love of her life. There are so many great and some not so great stories of her life and her travels all over the world. When Doris has a fall, she ends up in the hospital, and Jenny rushes to Stockholm to be by her side for her last few days. Jenny finds the notes Doris has written for her and some letters and photographs throughout Doris’s life. She learns so much from her grand-aunt, but the most important lesson she learns from her is love. This really was a lovely story. It was well written and kept a good pace, I thoroughly enjoyed it and honestly wanted to learn more about Doris’s life as if she was a real person. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a feel good story with a little heartbreak, but a lot of living and loving throughout. Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an ARC in exchange of my honest review.
CRSK More than 1 year ago
"Where've you been?" "I've looked for you forever and a day." "Where've you been?" "I'm just not myself when you're away." --Where’ve You Been, Kathy Mattea, Songwriters: Don Henry / Jon Vezner ”So many names pass by us in a lifetime. Have you ever thought about that, Jenny? All the names that come and go. That rip our hearts to pieces and make us shed tears. That become lovers or enemies. I leaf through my address book sometimes. It has become something like a map of my life, and I want to tell you a bit about it. So that you, who’ll be the only one who remembers me, will also remember my life. A kind of testament. I’ll give you my memories. They’re the most beautiful thing I have.” At the age of 96, Doris is living in Stockholm, after having lived many places in those many years. The one person in her life that she is still close with after all those years is her grandniece, Jenny, who lives in San Francisco with her husband, sons and young daughter. While they may be many miles apart, they talk through Skype weekly. Doris wants to leave a written story of her life, and her reminiscences are told as she wanders through her red address book, noting the names, and if they are deceased, and through these connections Doris tells her story, a love story that shares the connection of all the people she has loved, along with the one true romantic love she had many, many years ago. There is much to tell, to share with Jenny before she passes, and as she shares these stories, she finds herself reliving those feelings. Her life in Sweden, and Paris, New York and England, all of her experiences, including those during WWII, her life as a model, and the man that she loved, loves still. This was lovely and sweet, overall, if a bit slow to really begin. It really was worth the wait to really feel as if I knew who Doris was and feel what she was feeling. I appreciated that this gave us another look at life during WWII, and overall I just loved following her life through her years, meeting all the people who she held so dear to her heart, and those who were important to her story in other, less lovely ways, and I felt my heart break a little at the end of this story. Many thanks for the ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
Doris is dying. She does not want her memories to die with her, so she is writing them all out for her only living relative, her precious grandniece, Jenny. She goes through the red address book, the one her father gave her when she was just a girl. She has cherished the little book all her life, writing down those whom she has loved during her lifetime. She noticed all the names that she has crossed out through the years, the names of those she has lost to death. There are too many as she comes the end of her exceptionally long life! Half of this book is Doris’s account to Jenny. The other half takes place in the present, as Doris’s health declines. This is a wonderful, tender, emotional book. In it, our author stresses the importance of family and friends. She reminds us that our experiences, good and bad, are what our life is all about. The author also conveys the idea that life often does not turn out as we plan. This book is beautifully and poignantly written. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
RWBrock More than 1 year ago
This book ran the gamut of emotions...heart wrenching, despairing but ultimately triumphant. The life of a 96-year-old Swedish woman is told through letters she writes to her great-niece as she nears the end of her life. It’s unique, as she centers her narrative around those folks she’s met in her life who made it into her red address book...some she knew well, some not but almost all ended up with a strike through their name and DEAD written in the margins of the book. It’s a story of loss, love, and desperately trying to survive during the tumultuous years of WW2 in Europe and the US. It was a bit depressing but also absorbing and yes, there were a few tears while reading. There was an uplifting ending however. Trigger: There was a rape scene, not overly graphic. Thanks to #NetGalley and #HoughtonMifflinHarcourt for the ARC. The opinions are strictly my own.
SL22268 More than 1 year ago
Lovely story! Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book and the format. Doris is a 96 year old woman, who lives alone in Sweden. Her only family is her grand-niece Jenny, who lives in the US. Ever since she was little, she adds names to her Red Address Book that was a gift from her father, of everyone that she meets. Now at 96 she is reliving her stories about these people, before crossing them out "DEAD" - at her age, not too many remain. Going back and forth from present to past and back again, this is a delightful story and I highly recommend!
SallyH More than 1 year ago
This book was gorgeous. I love the idea behind it--start with an address book and then use each chapter to describe a vignette of life with that person,, all the while building up the story from the twenties to present day. I also appreciated the author pulling us back to the main character regularly--going back through her memories but dealing with her daily moments at the same time. Lovely book.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
Sofia Lundberg brings us an excellent historical novel with a quirky layout - 96 year old Swedish resident Doris shares her life stories with her only living relative, an American grandniece Jenny. As she leafs through her old address book and sees all of the entries marked through, with DEAD written beside them, Doris begins writing the memories she has of each address book entry, so that her memories, her influencers, don't die along with her. Some of these tales can be shared as they Skype on a regular basis, Jenny in her life in San Francisco, and Doris in Stockholm. But with the exception of Jenny and her family, all of the people that Doris knew and loved over the years are gone. And she knows that to know her story, you have to understand her 'family', and her life choices. Until her recent hospitalization following a fall Doris has been able to live on her own with only day help, which has freed her up to organize photos and type out her stories and print them out, to send to Jenny in San Francisco. Now, with the setback of the broken hip and looming heart problems, Doris may not be allowed to return to her home. And as she continues to have a weekly skype with Jenny, her failing health is obvious. Jenny must find a way to go to Stockholm and be with Doris. Her husband and boys are old enough to manage on their own, but her baby Tyra must accompany her to be with Doris as they say goodbye. As she reads Doris' memories between hospital visits, Jenny begins to appreciate the rich tapestry that was her great-aunt's life and times. Doris had an exceptional modeling career in Paris before World War II, a love to last the ages that was, again, disrupted by the war, and the unwavering love and support of other artists throughout Europe, through the years. And there is one thing that, with the help of her husband back in the USA, Jenny can do to help Doris die happy.... I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Sofia Lundberg, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
fictionaltiff More than 1 year ago
The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg was everything I wanted from a historical fiction book. Doris is a 96-year-old woman who on the surface is lonely and quiet, no friends or family left to care for her. But as Doris opens her red address book, time unravels, as well as memories of poverty, death, and heartbreak; intertwined within that though is a life full of love and unforgettable adventure. The reader follows Doris through her many, hard years, from the very beginning as a child in Sweden separated from her family; to the streets of Paris, where she first falls in love and is a model for Chanel during the Jazz Age; to a long boat ride to America at the brink of World War II... and so on. Doris experiences a long, full life that covers the entire spectrum of the human journey. The reader is able to experience this just the same through the incredible storytelling abilities of Sofia Lundberg. In a way, Lundberg’s writing does have Fredrik Backman’s qualities, as she’s able to demonstrate raw human emotion and the realistic choices we as people make that can dramatically affect those around us. And sprinkle the great storytelling with quotes that stick — life lessons that are relatable and memorable. Maybe I’m just a sucker for historical fiction and sappy, sad love stories, but this book was an easy five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I only put it down because I ran out of words to read at the end... Sometimes I hate that about books. I won’t be surprised to see this book on top lists because it broke and comforted my heart all at once — and I’d do it all over again. Cons: This one took about 50 pages to really suck me in. But once I got into the story, I didn’t want it to end. I wish this book were a little longer so I wouldn’t have to stop. I’m so glad I read this after The Paris Wife — no book hangovers here. Give me all the books on Paris during the Jazz Age, please.
Shelley-S-Reviewer More than 1 year ago
What a gift this book is to us from Sofia Lundberg. Reading The Red Address Book was a journey through emotions as the characters experience heart warmth and heartache. I enjoyed this book so much I didn't want it to end. Doris, our dear protagonist, makes friends with people that I wish I had in my life. The dialogue is spectacular and I felt as though I was there with Doris. I am in awe. I enjoyed the evocative descriptions of nature, the villages, and townspeople. I loved that the author focuses on things other than Doris; at those times, the story is especially lively and spirited. I think that you have to love a quirky book to love this one. It was a bit strange and a bit sad but I enjoyed reading it. There were lots of quirky characters to keep me attentive so it was a good book choice for me. I hate saying anything about the ending but I loved it. This book is unique. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the French countryside and the emotions described in the book. We all experience things different from others and this book captures this well. Sofia Lundberg touched my heart and soul with The Red Address Book. I loved this book so much. This is one of those books that you want to read slowly to savor each and every page. I highly recommend it.
TheBookBag More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful, touching story! The premise of The Red Address Book intrigued me from the start. We learn about this 96 year-old woman's life through the old address book she has kept for years. So many of the people she has known and loved in the past are gone now but she still has her memories of them and the time they had together. I loved Doris and her spunkiness—what an interesting life she led. And the relationship she had with her grandniece, Jenny, was very special and heartwarming to witness. This was a beautifully written story and I found myself totally wrapped up in the lives of Doris and Jenny. This is Sofia's debut novel and I'm excited to see what else she has in store for us as readers. What an amazing, wonderful story!
CJONES More than 1 year ago
The Red Address Book is a heart warming story of an elderly woman who is reflecting back on her long life. She had many amazing adventures that took her all over the world. She also met many people along the way, both good and bad, that shaped who she was. All of those people are listed in the red address book her father gave her when she was a girl. She decides that she needs to tell her life story after finding her address book so that her own story doesn't die along with her. “I wish you enough. Enough sun to light up your days, enough rain that you appreciate the sun. Enough joy to strengthen your soul, enough pain that you can appreciate life’s small moments of happiness. And enough friends that you can manage a farewell now and then.” This page turner was beautifully written. It captured my heart and brought tears to my eyes. It is a reminder that life is one big adventure. To hold on tight and try to enjoy the ride
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise of this book was so interesting: reading through an elderly woman's address book and her journal entries to learn more about her life and the people she knew. Doris is 96 years old, and she is dying. One thing she has left for her great niece is her address book and a narrative that explains who each person is and what they meant to Doris. Doris also used to be a live mannequin in Paris before she went through the hardships of World War II, and she leaves extensive details about her life in various parts of Europe and America. Throughout the narrative, the reader gets a sweeping picture of a life well lived in spite of everything bad that happened to Doris and the people she lost along the way. I enjoyed this book very much, in spite of the difficult and sometimes heartbreaking subject matter. The characters and everything that happened to them seemed so real. I felt so bad for Doris and all she had to endure from a young age all the way through her elderly years. It's amazing how one event can so radically change the trajectory of someone's life, for good or bad. I didn't care for the profanity and some of the views expressed, and the rape scene was especially disturbing to me. In spite of those things, I feel like I can recommend this book to adults who enjoy reading realistic stories about life and difficult circumstances. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Bookish First program. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Librarian_V_Reader More than 1 year ago
Librarian: What a beautiful story. This is the kind of story that I always hope historical fiction novels are going to be, but seldom are. That being said, I do worry that some readers will ignore this one, because a.) it's a work in translation, and many American readers tend to overlook European works (though the fact that this book originates in Sweden may help, as Swedish authors tend to have a favorable reputation with American readers) and b.) it's format is rather unique. The memoir-esque style of the book serves it well, and really helps to highlight the story, but I worry that it could alienate some readers who are expecting a more straightforward novel. Reader: Historical fiction is a genre that is almost always on my "genres I should read more of" list. I mean, it's a genre that I only occasionally read, even though I normally enjoy it when I do. This book serves as yet another reminder of why I need to read more of it. This little tale of a life lived to its fullest is the kind of story that makes you feel all the things, in part, because of the sheer simplicity of the narrative. This is the story of a life. It is nothing more, and nothing less. Doris, is not some chosen one, not some tragic heroine. She is just a woman who lived her life as it happened, without some overarching narrative driving things. And that's what makes this book so beautiful. It reminds us that in the end we're all just people on a journey that seems ordinary as it happens, but is really something rather extraordinary.