Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Red Address Book

 This novel is a well written reflection on the life of Doris as told by Sofia Lundberg.   It is a compilation of stories as told by Doris to her great niece, Jenny as she nears 97 years of age.  These different experiences and stages of Doris' life are presented as individual sections categorized by the entries in Doris' address book.   Her stories are associated with the different stages in her life as they relate to the different people she had met over the years and had entered into her address book.  These entries represent different stages in her life, all closed chapters at this point with the exception of her relationship with Jenny.  

There are many aspects of this novel that are sad and it would be easy to imagine the story as being a tear jerker.  Lundberg has done a wonderful job of pointing out the sadness and isolation of the end of Doris' life without being overly dramatic.   The stories of her life are the focus, they show how fully she lived.  As is often the case, they demonstrate the life before children and the lives that children know.  Often times, our offspring are shocked by the person who lived a different life before they were born.  This is definitely the case with Doris and Jenny.  Similarly, we find out Jenny has a similar change to her life when she became a mother.  

The stories Doris shares with Jenny depict and amazing life which helps offset the sadness of the current situation Doris finds herself in.   It would be easy to focus on the isolation Doris is experiencing late in her life and be overcome with sadness but rather the tapestry of Doris' life is central to the story.  This novel is an amazing layered journey through Doris' life but also a closure for herself and Jenny.  

I highly recommend this book and the only reason I did not give it 5 stars was the slow pace in which the story began.  Once the story got going, it was harder to put down but the format of each chapter representing an encapsulated story made it easy to start and stop my reading.

The Red Address BookThe Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to think about this novel at first. It started out a bit slow and then it really caught my attention and I couldn't read it fast enough. One of the nice aspects about it is each of the chapters tend to be encapsulated stories so you ca read it a little bit at a time and not feel like you have to backtrack to get started again.

The story is full of reminiscences and stories of Doris' life in Stockholm, Paris, New York and England. She experienced an amazing amount during her lifetime, but it is apparent she never shared it with her great niece, Jenny. Jenny discovers the stories as she visits Doris for one last time in Stockholm and wants her great aunt to tell her more and share more about their shared past as well as Doris' before Jenny was born. The story is poignant about how, as she lived to be quite an elderly lady, most of her acquaintances have passed away. The story is structured as a events of her life through the interactions with the different individuals in her address book. The reader hears about her love and tragedies as well as the adventures she experienced. Doris is clearly a strong woman who is reflecting on her life and her loss of independence. We should all be so blessed to have such a long life and to remember it is such detail.
I highly recommend this book

View all my reviews

Challenge Prompts

The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:  

  1. Library Love  #LibraryLoveChallenge  Book #13
  2. Literary Escapes  #LiteraryEscapes  Sweden
  3. Beat the Backlist #BTB2021  #24 written in letters or diary entries 
  4. 2021TBR  #2021ReadingChallenge # 19 written in a foreign language  
  5. Virtual Mount TBR #VirtualMountTBR2021   Book #19
  6. Back List Reader  #Backlistreader  Book #22
  7. Historic Fiction  #histficreadingchallenge   Book #3
  8. PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge #38. A book about art or an artist
  9. Around the Year in 52 Books #12. A book eligible for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation
  10. 52 Book Club  #the52bookclub2021  #22 A Family Saga
  11. The Unofficial Magnus Archives Challenge  #TMARC21  #39. Oliver: involves dreams
  12. BooklistQueen   # 28. A Book About Friendship
  13. A Pretty Mess Challenge # 3. Debut author
  14. NJM Book Challenge  #NJMBookChallenge2021  #19 translated book
  16. Bookworm  #41.) Read a book where the main character is elderly
  17. Magic in the Books Book 4 #7 Read a book in translation
  18. Pick your Poison #20- 2 A book about overcoming obstacles
  19. Bloggers Bookshelf   #bloggersbookshelf # 9 on your tbr for over a year
  20. Monthly Keyword #MonthlyKeyWordGXO  "RED"
  21. Book Voyage  #bookvoyagechallenge  Western Europe
  22. Beyond the Bookends  about addiction
  23. 52 books in 52 weeks  #27 diary
  24. Unruly Reader Bingo  #22 immigrant


1 comment:

  1. Using an address book to tell a life story is creative! I haven't heard of any author using this to reveal a plot. Thanks for your review.