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review 2017-06-27 14:20
A Book About Existence Found In A Place That Nobody Knows It Exist.
Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

Stories of slice of life may not be anyone's cup of tea (or coffee). There are times when I read such stories, I don't get move by how its meant to be written. When I read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, it was messy to me. Yes, its the point of view from a 7 year-old girl that her grandmother send her a quest of fairy tale stories that sort of mixed up with reality... for me, I can't tell which is which. Then came the unexpected spin-off - Britt-Marie Was Here and I find it much better than Fredrik Backman's previous book before this one.

 

Britt-Marie Was Here focus on the title character herself. In the previous book (not a sequel, mind you), she was annoyingly weird (to me that is), a nagger and fussy like hell. But here we get to see and understand who Britt-Marie truly is. Her life, what she was before and who she is now is deeper than we think. After what happen to her in My Grandmother Asked Me... , she traveled to Borg, a fictional place that nobody knows of and literally, its like non-existence. As Britt-Marie gets a job in a recreational center, she encounters unexpected characters that will change her life or how she change theirs. Plus a conversation with a rat, soccer and lots of baking soda and Flaxin plus cutlery. Oh yes - this book and like all Fredrik Backman's books has that same formulated story and theme. In A Man Called Ove, we have those kind of unexpected characters and a cat. In My Grandmother Asked Me..., we have an apartment of unexpected characters too and a dog (even the car Renault is a character of its own). There's no difference here. I can see how his books are written now. But is Britt-Marie Was Here a one-trick pony? Well... yes and no.

 

You see, there's some thing I enjoy reading this book and its just what message Backman is trying to say here. Its a good one and there's some realism about how people are too comfort in their current lives and afraid to break free and do some thing for themselves when their whole lives are about doing some thing for others. When we try to assure ourselves that the right way is to go back what it was before, its what's happening now. The book does show us that scenario... but of course, I can't give out that ending but I can say, its one I believe that is good. And then of course, Britt-Marie always felt nobody thinks she exist that she makes herself known she does and in the end... well, I can't reveal that either. What I enjoy most is how now the chapters are short and direct, it is a much easier feeling of reading that I took my time no longer than I had with the last book.

 

I can't say that this book is great but its a read that gives me a subtle warmness towards it, that I like when it comes to slice of life. And this is one of those books that I would say its worth reading for those who are lost in a course of their lives should pick this up.

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review 2017-01-29 15:01
A Poignant Simplicity of a Fable of Found and Lost
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel - M.L. Stedman

You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.

 

It took a while to complete The Light Between Oceans. For one, there is much to read about in this book that drives a very poignant story that definitely guarantee tissue papers to be readied towards the end of the book. Another would be the words written that are simple and yet beautiful that I find almost every single character in this book are well taken-care of and meticulous... but where do I begin?

 

Let's start with what this is about - Tom Sherbourne returns from a four year war (World War I to be exact) on the Western Front to take a post as a lighthouse on Janus Island. Isolated from the nearest land, Tom's life was a lonely one until he met Isabel Graysmark, a young girl that brings life into him. Married and living on the island, life was simple... until two miscarriages and one stillbirth, Isabel had reached to the edge of depression. It was the arrival of a boat washed up ashore that carried a dead man and a living baby that Isabel thought it is a sign from God. Happiness begins with the Sherbourne family... until a few years later, when on land that Tom and Isabel have finally came across Hannah Roennfeldt, the birth mother of Lucy. There are hard decisions to be made... and one that could change their lives forever.

 

I love how it was written - simple and yet easy to follow. Every single description is carefully word out and lyrical. As I read, it was one that I felt being drawn into each character and how each and every single character plays a role that affects the decision of others. The description is pretty much short and simple and yet written in ways that given some of these characters meaning, with a simple brief history on each and every one. As to who they are and what they are, I can truly understand how Tom is as a role of a person that is self-pitied and yet sacrifice his life as a gentlemen. Isabel was written with changes from someone that never experience lost until someone that is selfish and possessive words well on the consequences taken by her. What was more is the sense of lost and giving up works deeply of its own that I became cried towards the end in the epilogue (the last chapter that is). Although I do felt there should not be any reason writing that last chapter, it does felt like it ended an extra more just for the tears.

 

The supporting characters were given attention and memorable. What I like about that is how each were given a short background and relation to each other in Partageuce, a small town where everyone knows what everyone is doing, easy and simple to relate. Of course, the dialogue which I enjoy most in 1920s how older and God is the utmost importance. Every detail is written well.

 

I can say that M.L. Stedman is a romantic that proven herself as a debut author in 2012 that won some awards. Although she has yet written any other books besides this one, I do hope she will as The Light Between Oceans is truly a book that should be read by understanding the culture of its own of that particular decade, which I truly enjoy. And to find some thing this good, its almost a classic of its own, which I can say it deserves a 4.5 out of 5 star.

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