My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry Summary and Reviews

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman X
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
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Book Summary

From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a charming, warmhearted novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother's fairy tales.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman's internationally bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and an ode to one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!

Some of the recent comments posted about My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry:

A Man Called Ove
I immediately saw similarities between the two books. Both began very slowly and then take off. There was an Audi in each book. Ove lived in a subdivision or condo type of residence and Elsa lived in an apartment type house. Ove and Granny were ... - dianaps

Do you agree that it is important that children have heroes? Who were your heroes when you were a child?
I think the word hero has been misused in so many ways that I kind of cringe when I hear it now. I do think children need to have something to believe it. Something beyond the here and now and the mundane and the hurt. Fairy tales are not a bad ... - dianaps

Do you think Britt-Marie and Kent were well suited? Do you think that the marriage changed Britt-Marie? How can being in a bad relationship affect someone's personality?
They were not well-suited; Britt-Marie realized that too late. Thank goodness it was not too late for her to embark on a life without Kent--hopefully happiness will be hers to enjoy. - MarieA

Do you think the different reactions to Granny, and opinions of her, are justified? What did you think of Granny? Do you know anyone like her?
Granny knew what she was doing. To her, her purpose in life was to take care of and protect Elsa and that's exactly what she did. I loved her character and I was fortunate enough to have a blue haired motorcycle riding granny of my own!! - dianaps

Do you think the non-traditional setting Elsa's mother grew up in influenced her parenting style? If so in what ways?
I think Elsa's mom was doing the best she could. She was trying not to consciously make the mistakes her mother made. It was also a bit difficult for her to dead with Granny being Granny! - dianaps

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A delectable homage to the power of stories to comfort and heal, Backman's tender tale of the touching relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter is a tribute to the everlasting bonds of deep family ties." – Booklist

"Firmly in league with Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman. A touching, sometimes funny, often wise portrait of grief." - Kirkus

"In his second offering, Backman (A Man Called Ove) continues to write with the same whimsical charm and warm heart as in his debut." - Publishers Weekly

This information about My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Charla Wilson

Groovy Grandma
This book is different from most books for adults, because it is written from the perspective of a 7 year old girl. Her name is Elsa and she is very smart for her age. Elsa's Mom works all the time and is also very pregnant. So, Elsa spends most of her time with her eccentric Grandmother who lives in the same group of flats. Grandma is a retired physician, as well as a mischievous, fun loving person that knows how to live life to its fullest. Elsa is being bullied at school, which she keeps from most everyone, with the exception of Grandma. Grandma introduces Elsa to "the land of almost awake" where they both escape from reality. Grandma gets cancer and Elsa is left with the job of fulfilling Grandma's request to deliver a series of letters to all of the people Grandma cared about and had, at one point helped in some way. Coincidentally, all of these people lived in the same block of flats. It is in Elsa's attempt to fulfill this request that she discovers herself and finds out a lot more about the people that live around her. And, each of these people have a unique story and history. At times, Elsa seems so much older than 7, going on 8. However, her best friend is her Grandma. This book will make you laugh, cry, worry, and keep you glued to it until the end. It should really be on everyone's reading list! My new favorite author is Fredrick Backman! If you loved "A Man Called Ove," then you will love this one too!


Five Star Tale
What a clever story and quick read. The characters come to life. This is truly a feel good book. I highly recommend and plan to read the other related stories.


Captivating Title Drew Me in to a Unique Tale
As someone who had close and special relationships with both grandmothers, this book caught my eye because of its title. I loved parts of this book and sometimes felt a little bogged down in other parts (where Grandmother's creative tales for her granddaughter are actually written out as fairly detailed parts of the book.) I probably would have liked the option of 4.5 rating for this book. The fairy tale inserts tempted me to rate this book as a 4, but that seemed too low. Readers who are familiar with author Backman's first book, A Man Called Ove, will probably feel more comfortable with the character of Granny as they will be certain that there will be heartwarming surprises and "aha" discoveries as to why some characters are unique and even abrasive at times. The plot and characters are original and fun at times, and I think book clubs would have a lot to dissect and talk about.


Loved this book
I kept thinking of my grandson as I read this book. I loved the comments about "real Literature" that Elsa made. Her relationship with her grandmother was priceless & the way the tales her grandmother told her came true with the various residents of the apartment building was fascinating. I think this would be a great book for a book club discussion.

Cloggie Downunder

Funny, sad and truly heartwarming
“…storytelling is the noblest profession of all. The currency there is imagination; instead of buying something with coins you buy it with a good story. Libraries aren’t known as libraries but as ‘banks’ and every fairy tale is worth a fortune”

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises is the second novel by Swedish blogger, columnist and author, Fredrik Backman. As with his previous bestseller, this book is flawlessly translated by Henning Koch. Every seven-year-old girl needs a superhero of their own, and Elsa (almost eight) has one: her grandmother. Unfortunately, Granny has cancer and dies just a few days before Christmas and Elsa’s eighth birthday, leaving her rudderless. But before she left, Granny charged Elsa with a mission: a treasure hunt of sorts, involving letters of apology to be delivered to some of the many people Granny has offended over the years. Elsa may feel overwhelmed by her task, but Granny made her a knight in the Land-of-Almost-Awake, so she tries to be brave and fearless. And after a while, Elsa realises that Granny has equipped her with what she needs to face the future without her.

Backman has peopled his novel with a wonderful cast of characters, often quirky yet familiar and appealing for all their faults and imperfections. The banter between the characters is enjoyable and often laugh-out-loud funny. Backman’s plot is so cleverly devised that the reader can see events from the perspective of a seven (nearly eight) year old who believes in the fantasy world her granny has created for her, and from the point of view of the adults around her. And that fantasy world, the Land-of-Almost-Awake, is a wonderful thing in itself, with its parallels in the lives, loves and losses of the real-world characters.

Backman given his characters many words of wisdom and insightful observations: “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 was how oppression works” and “…sometimes the safest place is when you flee to what seems the most dangerous” and “When it comes to terror, reality’s got nothing on the power of imagination” are examples. He also gives Elsa some excellent retorts to adult statements: for ‘It’s complicated.’ Elsa has ‘Yes, until someone explains it to you!’ and for ‘It’s hard to help those who don’t want to help themselves’ she cleverly objects ‘Someone who wants to help himself is possibly not the one who’s most in need of other people’s help’.

Backman’s second novel is another winner, and readers will be eager to know what he can come up with next. Funny, sad and truly heartwarming.


If you enjoyed "A man called Ove", you will love "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry"
You will laugh and cry, you will be amazed too. You will fall under Elsa's spell.
Just loved that book!

...1 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Fredrik Backman Author Biography

Photo: Henric Lindsten

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called OveMy Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's SorryBritt-Marie Was HereBeartownUs Against You, and Anxious People, as well as two novellas and one work of nonfiction. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

Link to Fredrik Backman's Website

Name Pronunciation
Fredrik Backman: Backman's name is pronounced broadly as it sounds, but his famous character Ove is more challenging, it rhymes with hoover

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