Sofia Lundberg comes to the blog with a lovely story of remembrance, and her debut in the US.
The Red Address Book
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.
Title: The Red Address Book
Author: Sofia Lundberg
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction
Published by: Houghton Miffllin/Harcourt
Published on: 8 January, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: