Book Review: Britt-Marie Was Here

Britt-Marie Was Here Book Review

 

After I read My Name Is Ove, I decided I needed to read more of Fredrik Backman (he has several books). The next one I picked up was Britt-Marie Was Here. It was really good as well. It was a little slow to start, but I thought Ove was too. It just takes a little bit to get going, and then you are hooked.

 

Britt-Marie is the type of woman who needs things to be a certain way – the cutlery drawer must be organized a certain way, dinner is always at 6 (because what kind of person eats doesn’t eat dinner at 6?), windows must be extremely clean, balconies are preferred. Britt-Marie isn’t the type to judge, of course, but some things just need to be the way they are meant to be. When Britt-Marie finds herself alone and jobless after leaving her cheating husband, she takes a job at a closing recreation center in a nearby town that is all but shut down. She soon becomes involved in the daily life of the townspeople, who are all a little bit odd, and somehow finds herself as the soccer coach for the group of kids in town.

 

Britt-Marie Was Here is a book about self discovery and about finding yourself after being lost for a very long time (or perhaps really finding yourself for the first time). Britt-Marie is seriously socially awkward. She doesn’t understand jokes (and she hates to be laughed at), and she doesn’t do well with small talk. She cleans like crazy and is obsessed with a certain brand of window cleaner. She is definitely an odd character. Actually everyone in the book is odd.

 

It is such a funny book. It is also really heartwarming and also sad. I laughed out loud, I cried. It is a feel good book, and you can’t help but love Britt-Marie.

 

Fredrik Backman is an incredible writer. I love that he isn’t overly descriptive. He is concise and to the point. I actually don’t like authors that are really overly descriptive. If you have to be that descriptive, I don’t think you are that good of a writer, but that is just me. But he is the tpe that you can see the characters and the setting so clearly without the lengthy descriptions.

 

Have you read anything by Fredrik Backman? If so, what did you think?

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

I had seen something about Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine on some new releases something (I don’t remember where), but then when I saw that Reese Witherspoon picked it as one of her bookclub picks, I knew I had to read it! If you aren’t following Reese’s book club Instagram (@rwbookclub) I suggest you do. There are lots of good books recs and general book things, which I love. And we seem to be on the same page about books, I mean she did make Big Little Lies into a series!

 

So, I was really excited to start this one. I love books about crazy people. And Eleanor is definitely … different. She lives a very solitary life, and she is completely fine with that. She avoids most unnecessary human interaction. She works a not very exciting desk job that she has been at for many years with people she doesn’t really like. She has no people or social skills (and doesn’t really understand why). She generally says exactly what she is thinking. She has a scar on her face that people tend to stare at. She makes no effort in her appearance at all. She spends her week days working, and her weekends eating pizza and drinking vodka until it is time to go back to work.

 

Things change when Eleanor meets Raymond, the new IT guy at her work. He is a little sloppy, wears things like jeans and tennis shoes, doesn’t have the best manners, smokes … all things Eleanor can’t stand. The two witness an elderly gentleman, Sammy, fall and, together, save him. Slowly Eleanor starts to let Raymond in, and figures out maybe life doesn’t have to be so lonely.

 

It is funny, when I first started reading, I found Eleanor to be pretty unlikeable. But she really grows on you. And her bizarre interactions with, well, everyone are really funny. There were plenty of times I laughed out loud followed with something like “Oh boy…” As you slowly learn more about Eleanor’s past, you really start to understand why she is the way she is.

 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is definitely a quirky book, but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I didn’t want it to end. When I finished, I found myself thinking, “BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?” Eleanor’s character evolvement is really interesting, and I loved how extremely childlike she was in some ways. It is also a little unpredictable with a little twist towards the end, which is always fun.

 

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine? If so, what did you think? If not, I highly recommend it!

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove Book review

 

I have been wanting to read A Man Called Ove for quite a while. It was always unavailable at Target (we really don’t have any book stores, other than a Barnes & Noble that is WAY out of my way to go to), but finally, one week, there it was! So I grabbed it.

 

I am going to preface this with I loved this book, however I can see where this wouldn’t be a book for everyone. It deals with some heavy themes, and if you are looking for a light read, this wouldn’t be it (but there is a lot of humor in it too).

 

Ove is a grumpy old man. He believes in strict rules. He likes routine. He likes things in their place, and no place else. Ove keeps to himself, and to be honest, doesn’t really like other people. He doesn’t bother to learn their names and prefers to just be left alone. But behind closed doors, Ove is a sad man. One day, a new family moves next door to Ove and rocks his world. They get off to the wrong start when they take out his mailbox with a trailer (driving where they are not allowed to drive). And to make matters worse, a stray cat shows up who seems to have an affinity for Ove.

 

The themes in the book are heavy – growing older, death, grief, and losing the one you love the most, and what you do after you lose that one person you live for. I cried several times in it, and sobbed at the end. Even though it is sad, it is also so heartwarming and uplifting (it may sound hard to believe but it really is!). And there are so many funny parts. And the writing is so fantastic – it isn’t flowery and super wordy, which I like.

 

I really really loved this book. I did have a hard time at the beginning. I read several mysteries and thrillers before this one, so going to a slower paced book was a little bit difficult. I had a little bit of trouble getting in to it, but once I did, I loved it. Even though Ove is a big grump, it is hard not to love him.

 

I know this won’t be a book for everyone, but it really was fantastic. And I am looking forward to reading more by Fredrik Backman!

 

Have you read A Man Called Ove? If so, what did you think?

 

Book Review: Today will Be Different

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“Today will be different. Today I will be present. Today, anyone I’m speaking to, I will look them in the eye and listen deeply. Today I’ll play a board game with Timby. I’ll initiate sex with Joe. Today I will take pride in my appearance. I’ll shower, get dressed in proper clothes and only change into yoga clothes for yoga, which today I will actually attend. Today I won’t swear. I won’t talk about money. Today there will be an ease about me. My face will be relaxed, its resting place a smile. Today I will radiate calm. Kindness and self-control will abound. Today I will buy local. Today I will be my best self, the person I’m capable of being. Today will be different.”

 

How many times do we each think that? In many ways, I completely and totally related to Eleanor Flood, the main character in Today Will Be Different. Of course, you read that opening and think, “There is no way.” And you would be right.

 

Today Will Be Different is by Maria Semple, who also wrote Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Today Will Be Different is just as kooky, if not more so, than Bernadette. Eleanor absolutely lives in her own world. She was once an art director for a tv show, but now is a stay at home mom (technically she is writing her memoir as a graphic novel but it isn’t going so well). She has a husband Joe and a son Timby (and no I didn’t misspell that).

 

Today Will Be Different is one day in the life of Eleanor. Even though she starts with the best intentions (as so many of us do), she is immediately derailed. While having her poetry lesson, she receives a call that her son is sick (not the first time recently), and she discovers her husband’s office believes they were all out of town (even though Eleanor thought her husband was at work). And then she has lunch with someone that she can’t remember who they are or why they are having lunch (actually she thought she was having lunch with someone else, which is quite Eleanor to forget who she was having lunch with. She isn’t much on names or faces or dates). And it all spirals down from there.

 

What I really liked about it is that Eleanor is really relatable. She gets that she is really flawed and decides she will be better today.  She’s trying… kind of.  It is fast and funny and definitely quirky, which is always fun.

 

Truth – I didn’t think Today Will Be Different was quite as good as Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The same humor and quirkiness was there, but it wasn’t quite there. But I did enjoy it. If you liked Bernadette, I suggest you read it.

 

Have you read Today Will Be Different? If so, what did you think?