I’m a frequent library patron, and often spend time browsing the stacks of new titles, both fiction and non-fiction. I borrow a diverse range of books, taking comfort that as an adult; I can abandon a book if it’s not working for me, as it wasn’t assigned by a teacher or as a book club selection.
On a visit last week, nothing was jumping out at me. I asked one of the librarians who happened to be shelving books while I was searching, for a suggestion.
“Everyone seems to like this one book,” she said, but she couldn’t remember the title. “Though I didn’t like it,” she added. She offered to bring it to me, as it’s a book club selection so the library has multiple copies that are shelved elsewhere.
It’s about a man, though not that old by my terms (59), seems to be an elderly curmudgeon type, unhappy with everything and everyone around him. Slowly the story unfolds. His childhood, his marriage and subsequent loss of his beloved wife, and how the various neighbors in his residential community befriend him, helping him replace fear with trust, anger with peace, and hate with love.
This is one of those books that should be selected for One Town, One Book events, and should be assigned to every high school student around the globe. I mean it.
When I returned the book, I saw the librarian who gave it to me and told her how much I loved it. I suggested perhaps she give it another try. After all, she’s an adult reader; she can always abandon it.
I immediately grabbed Backman’s new book My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Will let you know.