Monday 27 February 2023

What I’ve been reading in February

 This month’s book club choice is All the Broken Places by John Boyne

As you can see, this month I have the actual book rather than a kindle download!  The price of the book to download was higher than I wanted to spend at the time that I looked, but a search on Music Magpie found me a hardback copy for £6 less than Amazon.  I know I didn't get it immediately, but it only took 48 hours to arrive on my doorstep.  Plus I can pass this on to a charity shop so someone else can read it after I have finished.  Anyway, onto my review!

This book is the sequel to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

The book moves between 1946 and present time and we meet Gretal Fernsby, an elderly lady living in an apartment in a prestigious London flat.  She is a widow with a grown up son about to embark on his fourth marriage.  Her downstairs neighbour has moved out and she is anxious about who her new neighbours will be.  

Going back to 1946, we learn of Gretal and her mother leaving their homeland in search of safety.  Her father has been hanged and her brother has died.  They need to find a new home where they are not judged by the deeds of her father.  If you have read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas you will already have met Gretal's brother, Bruno.  At which point you will realise that you are in for an emotional read.

The new downstairs neighbours are not the quiet, happy family that she was hoping for and Gretal soon discovers that the husband is hiding his own secret which endangers his wife and son.

I would love to expand more as there are many layers to this story, but am anxious not to reveal any 'spoilers'.  I really enjoyed it, it was well written and the moves from year to year and place to place are well spaced and flow well to fill in the missing parts of Gretal's story.

The next book I chose has recently been made into a film with Tom Hanks.  A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

When we first meet Ove he is in the process of trying to buy a computer.  Having picked up a box which contains an 'O Pad' he can't understand why he can't connect a keyboard.  He has no patience with the young sales assistant who quickly hands him over to a colleague.  We are already getting an insight into the attitude of Ove.  We next see him when his is conducting his daily early morning routine of inspecting his neighbourhood.  Grumpy, and insistent on the strict following of rules, Ove is not happy about having been made to vacate his post of Chairman of the Residents' Association when clearly all the other residents are idiots.  

Oh how I grew to love Ove and see behind all his idiosyncrasies.  I didn't want the story to end.  The characters were so well described and it was interesting to see how they all had a part in Ove's life.  The story is neatly tied up at the end where we learn of the exact reason why he is in that technology shop in the first place but view the exchange with more awareness of why Ove is the way he is.

It has left me wanting to see the film as all through the book I could see and hear Tom Hanks!  


Patio Postcards said...

Always appreciate book reviews & recommendations, thank you. I have read A Man Called Ove & quite enjoyed. IMO, the best of Fredrik Backman's books. I would like to see the movie based on this book with Tom Hanks whom I think makes a perfect Ove, aka Otto.

Ruth said...

Both of these now on my TBR list! Tom Hanks is excellent as Otto.

♥ Liz ♥ said...

I'll have to put those on my reading list for this year. I love Tom Hanks in anything so am looking forward to seeing the film.

Gail Is This Mutton? said...

I like the sound of A Man Called Ove. I find older characters fascinating. I felt sure I'd read the striped pyjamas but I don't remember it from the characters you mention. This is a big omission!

Barbara Eads said...

I've added All the Broken Places to my library list. They don't have it but will notify me if they get it. In the meantime, I've added it to my Amazon list. I read A Man Called Ove and am hoping to see the movie this week. I wonder why they felt the need to change the name?? Thanks for the reviews.