Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Book Review: "And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer" by Fredrik Backman

It's ironic that mathematics figures into the plot of this book (but you shouldn't let that scare you), because I thought about approaching this review as a mathematical proof. Given that Larry is a total sap, prove that this utterly exquisite novella will leave him an emotional wreck. Done and done.

"Noah holds the old man's hand, the man who taught him to fish and to never be afraid of big thoughts and to look at the night's sky and understand that it's made of numbers. Mathematics has blessed the boy in that sense, because he's no longer afraid of the thing almost everyone else is terrified of: infinity. Noah loves space because it never ends. It never dies. It's the one thing in his life which won't ever leave him."

On its surface, this seems like a very simple story about the special relationship between a boy and his grandfather, the many interests and loves they shared, and how much the latter learns from the former, as well as vice-versa. But as you delve deeper, and read Fredrik Backman's almost-poetic dialogue and see his imagery in your head, you realize this book deals with the fear that comes from memory loss; the everlasting nature of love; how palpable regret can be and while it may actually be easy to make amends, how hard doing something easy can be; and the sadness of having to say goodbye to loved ones.

The beauty of this story is letting it unfold without knowing too much, so I don't want to say anything more about the plot. I felt that this was so special because it demonstrates that you can find courage in the midst of fear, and that, clichéd as it might sound, love—both romantic and familial—can be enough to help you through the hard times.

My paternal grandmother was probably one of my most favorite people ever, and I know that I was her favorite. We called her our "playing grandma," because even in her 70s, she would be on the floor playing with my siblings and I, taking us to New York City museums, even climbing up steps in the Statue of Liberty. No matter what I did, she was always as proud as if I had scored the winning goal, won the Nobel Prize, and made millions of dollars all at the same time. She died 12 years ago at the age of 93, although we began losing her to dementia about three years earlier. To this day, I miss her more than words can say, so this book was one that made me smile through my tears, made me grateful to have had her as such a part of my life for so long.

I have read some absolutely fantastic books this year, many of which continue to stay with me long after I've finished with them. I've no doubt that this story of Noahnoah and his grandfather will be one of those, and I hope it is for you as well.

NetGalley and Atria Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

No comments:

Post a Comment