This book was recommended to me as a good read. It’s certainly popular because after I placed it on hold at the library, I had to wait months and months before an ebook copy became available. I began reading it right away as I wanted to finish it before it was due. I made it with days to spare!
It isn’t a hard read, but I didn’t find it compelling enough to hold my interest non-stop. It’s not my usual fare, and I read that some have likened Allan to Forrest Gump. Never read the Gump book; never saw the movie. I know, that makes me…weird. So I can’t comment other than from the Forrest Gump movie trailers I saw, it does seem like both characters meander through life meeting famous people and affecting famous events. But I don’t think Gump did it in quite the unusual style Allan does, with the tone of the book being a counterpoint to Allan’s vocation. It’s certainly an interesting choice of character trait and ability Jonasson chose. That’s one thing that makes this book unique; the other is the age of the protagonist. I mean, how many books feature centenarians having adventures? There’s something hopeful about that, that retirement doesn’t mean the end of life. And sometimes after retirement life begins all over again. (And on a side note, retirement doesn’t equal 65. Or 55.)
I liked it. I found it funnier at the end than during the middle. But humour is a fickle mistress. What one finds hilarious, another finds deadly dull. I wouldn’t go by laughter, but more by the feeling of amusement and light-heartedness the book engendered. I’m sure there are lessons in here; they’re more the kind you reflect on as you’re reading not at the end when you’re all done. They’re small yet thought-provoking. For this reason, buying the book and allowing yourself the time to read it deeply is probably better than borrowing it from the library…unless you’re a fast reader.