My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry
Simon & Schuster
I was enchanted by Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove and Brit Marie Was Here. But with features in the New York Times and thousands of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, there’s probably not much left to say about My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry that hasn’t already been said. (And, yes, I did read them out of order!) So, instead, I’ll tell you why I’ll remember Elsa and Granny and the wurse and the Monster and Halfsie for as long as I have memory.
I’ll remember that there is something elemental (dare I say spiritual?) about the longing of our hearts for story. That we often make sense of the world around us through story, and sometimes the most important Truths we learn are fiction. I’ll remember that some of us understand ourselves more deeply by meeting people who don’t exist and live in places that can’t be found.
I’ll remember that sometimes a Love just doesn’t fit any longer. When worn every day for however many years, its elbows thin, the collar frays. We grow and stretch and one morning we try to slip Love on for yet another day and the buttons don’t close over our belly. The sleeves hitch up above our wrists. And the Love that was once such a delight to wear and fit so very well … just doesn’t.
I’ll remember that grandmothers have been given the precious gift of the Do Over. We can adore our littles unabashedly, but still push them (sometimes hard, even) and not suffer the estrangement that so often divides parent and child. Sometimes grandmas regret choices they made or words they couldn’t take back with their own children. “Mistakes were made!” they cry out. And grannies hope that the hearts of those grownup children start to soften (just a little even) in the presence of the love between grands and little
So there you have it. A grandmother who made amends as only age could allow and a little girl who learned love never really leaves us in a story that was more real than not.