Ep 415 - My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman


This is a head. Gum podcast while Andrew and Craig believe the joy of discovery is crucial to enjoying any well told tale. They will not shy away. From spoiling specific story beats when necessary. Plus these are books. You should have read by now. Uh It wasn't a raccoon. Andrew wasn't a raccoon that adolescent raccoon. That was giving me so much trouble last week. Hi Welcome over to gas at the books even mean to read when he was Craig. My Name's Andrew and if you're just tuning in you will remember that last week when we recorded Craig had an animal and his wall that was giving him a lot of grief he had a roommate move in and clean squatters rights in our wall and after hearing the animal noises over the phone a man said with a pretty high degree of confidence as I recall that it was definitely an adolescent recruit. Yes that was not. That's not how turned out. How the story turnout? No a very kind. Man named jared came to my house the next morning and promptly within hearing it and he had also laid eyes on outside of the building said. That's starling that's a Birdie or wall and he'd spent half an hour trapped inside our closet after cutting and then he said Hey. It's two birds in there. So and they shoved him in a cage humanely and then sealed up our wall and left never to be seen again. They say burn. The hand is worth two in the wall. Yeah I guess just like is the exchange rate one adolescent raccoon equals to starlings and is that why he thought it was an adolescent birds dressed up as a raccoon. I guess maybe just the guy on the phone had dealt with enough raccoons that he he taught we got told a story about how young raccoons like lose their way in the tunnels between houses. And this was like no bird got in through a hole and then fell and then the big bird didn't WanNa leave it behind which is noble. I suppose but we didn't get any sleep so I was. I've never been less angry. No more angrier animals. I think than I was those days. But we're we're we're here now and there are still allow birds in our neighborhood. But they're not in my house which is where they should be so. That's one story wrapped up on this. Podcast we love story. That's normally when we're not getting animals in places where animals shouldn't be each chivas. Reads a book that we've never had before and we tell the other one about it and you. The listener gets a ride along. Yeah you read this week Show I read. My Grandmother asked me to tell you she sorry Frederick Bachmann it is also published in the UK. I think as my grandmother sends her regards and apologizes. Which do you like better? I do think I like the US version better. Because I want I want the. Uk wanted to be. My Grandmother Sends Her regards and apologies. Holiday is is very odd though I guess in keeping with the t tell you she sorry. It's like more active than sends her regards and apologies. But I do like the tell you she sorry it. Just it's simpler. It's I duNNo. It's more direct. Maybe that's more American of me. Yeah Bachman is what. He's Swedish right. Yes I think the translation is by henning coach and in Coke And I enjoyed the translation. Just fine I had no like. I know I had no ringing. Endorsement is fine there. We've talked about some novels. I could translate it and it's like you can't you lose a sense of auth intent sometimes because I think we talked about this a little bit on the shadow of the wind episode like. Yeah where is it leaning into the Gina and whereas is it leaning into just a flowery translation and the fact that this book is a very close third person of seven going on eight year old helps with elect directness of the language Like feeling justified in world but also probably keeping the translator from like kind of getting out there on on a limb. I don't know what am I wanted. this was recommended to us by one of our patrons supporters. Susan thank you Susan. Susan didn't provide any additional information very excited to Dallas to read this book. So that's all was just GONNA have have to reverse engineer Susan's opinion about the spot. Hey that's okay there you go. That sounds good What do you got Bachmann or the novel Andrew Yellow just a little bit on on Bachman in the novel so the novel like US says published in two thousand fifteen in the US and in the UK and then originally in twenty thirteen in Sweden This Bach Men's second novel His first a man called Ova which I watched a movie trailer they can. I kept going back every time a character said his name. So that's that's the best pronunciation. I got based on the trailer for the film. Sure the Swedish movie that came out in two thousand fifteen by the same name. A man called the. Yes which is far as I could tell us about a crank uelmen with a gold cranky all may with a heart of gold and this book is littered with Cranky people with hearts of gold. So you can see. There's a if you've you've read a man called Ova you probably will feel right at home and liked it like you'll feel at home in this book because I there's a similar worldview. I suppose that's what I was when I was reading through a reader reviews of of this. I saw a couple of people mentioned. You know I've I've read a bunch of Walkmans work in. This is the most similar to the man called who've except with a bunch of other stuff which will get into sure. Sure Yeah other books include Britain Marie was here. Bear town which sounds like a fun us against you and then Avella's every more and every morning the way home gets longer and longer and the deal of a lifetime and in a nonfiction book called things my son needs to know about the world Britain. Marie was here. Might be in the same universe like fictionally as This book my grandmother etc. Because that's one of the main key one of the characters that we meet one secondary characters that we meet and from what I read about. The Synopsis Picks up where that character leaves off in this book of a woman whose marriage falls apart and she goes off to explore a new chapter in her life. SO I don't. I don't know that it's been called a sequel. I would have expected it to be but the more of a view askew never S- situation. Yes definitely where things are where. Things are vaguely related by virtue of not directly contradicting on. Oh sure times silent Bob shows. I forgot that that's what that universe was called and I forgot that it was a universe. Yeah the older guy. Like every seventy five episodes or so I bring up the view esque universe in reference to some world building. One of those movies I've ever spent real time with his dogma which I don't know if it holds up but I liked it I like at the time and I think I choose to leave it back there though. Alan Rickman is good. In as our CAU- Yes Allen. Richtman is good in it interesting okay. That's all I got about him that he did he's a he's also like a newspaper columnist and essayist and then got into novel writing There's a New York Times profile of on him from twenty sixteen mostly on the like. Wow this guy's sell us books like Well like why the itsel lots of books in America like. How did that happen okay? That's it traces. It from like the rejection of the Ova manuscript which he said one publisher said we like your novel. We think you're writing has potential but we see no commercial potential and one of the like booksellers who acquired the rights. Peter Boylan said I had a great voice and it was different from everything else I was reading. It wasn't Scandinavian Nawar Scandinavian. He paused searching for the right description. Something Else I. It is interesting to think about it as a as an American book industry though like the Swedish export from the like mid to late arts was stieg Larsson and like the girl with the Dragon. Tattoo and now homing and then this guy. That's more I've never read any of those. But that's more of like a thriller. Yes yes archetype. Right yes And this is very different at a whole different thing so reading reading reviews about the book. And because because you asked me to just let come with some kind of vague handle on what the book was. Yeah please and like you said to me like it's not quite sick. Lit like the the new on air because because we talked about it or on her own but not when we were playing. Drive trucks right. Cyclic is a sort usually. I WANNA a fiction. A character dies or is dying in that is the like you the instigating event of the story or just like a access that everything sort of yes the What's the John Green Book Palmar our stars our stars. Maybe it's either a walk to remember and or the Britney Spears movie crossroads. Yeah it's some you gotta spend the last good times with someone's life a book. The one that I that came to mind that I read for the show while but I still think about sometimes said tell the wolves I'm home. Oh have it here. It's a girl's uncles. Mike Boyfriend is dying of AIDS in the late eighties early nineties sure sure and teaches the girl a little something about life along the way like. It's easy to be dismissive of the of the genre and so so this isn't quite that but it's sort of playing in that wheelhouse is a character. Death in that does set the events of the of the book into motion but it sounds like in addition to just being about Mike people with hearts of gold. It's also got some like sort of magical realism means. Sort of make believe it has a main believes going on. Yeah let me give you the really reductive sentence that I put in our chat before we started recording already. He already gave it to me. You don't have to you have to give me again. That's why I'm saying I have it already. Let me say it out loud in case anyone else needs to hear it. Okay if you think that's necessary. Eight-year-old learns that a bunch of adults in her life are more connected than she thought and that everyone is more complicated than they seem at first glance and that is definitely what happens in the book and it is run through this. You Know Main Character Elsa who is seven going on eight. She is quote unquote. Different is a for is a term that both and people people who like her and people who don't like her consider her different and it's like either a good or a bad thing based on whether or not you like her she's A very precocious kid. She's Super Smart. She loves to read But she also loves to tell people when they're wrong and loves to people. Love love to like wind. That super endearing wheeled that knowledge that she you know really ingests a lot of information and then like is pretty insightful. About how people behave and just her peers. Her seven year old boys are not prepared to receive that type of treatment from anyone let alone. A girl If you can't hear my I roll and the whiplash gave my neck for being a seven-year-old boy there for a second So she really only has one friend who really gets her and that is her granny who I think is seventy seven and she has. She's she is seven and then granny seventy yes. Yes and granny is like Man Take multiple versions of the like outside the box grandparent from fiction but like and roll it into one but like she's not super problematic like she's not you know spouting off with stuff that she shouldn't say necessary racist racist grandma she's more like the grandparents from. Hey Arnold yes she's A. She's an agent of chaos. Graham is and her and Elsa get along very very well and so the it's not quite the inciting in the book but the major incident in the first quarter of the book is that Granny does pass away from cancer and she leaves this like Treasure Hunt of letters for Elsa to find and then deliver to various people who live in their apartment building And over the course we'll get we'll dive deeper than this but like the Ark of the book is Elsa learns about granny while also thinking about how to like remember her as she encounters people. She thought she knew one way but then like based on how she interacts with them. Trying to deliver these letters and trying to uncover who actually are like learns a little bit more about them in how the book the Fairytale Thing Always GonNa ask is is. This person is pretty straightforward. But how does to the extent that this book lost people in the good reads reviews? Okay how was all the jumping around between this stuff and like the make believe stuff so the the make believe stuff. The book does not. It doesn't do a straight up NARNIA. It doesn't do a straight up magical realism thing. The the magical part of this book is that there's a place called What is it called the land of the most the land of the land of almost a week which is a place that Granny Helps Elsa. Go to When she first you know Elsa thinks that the land of almost away comes from when Elsa parents were splitting up and she was having trouble sleeping and having autzen nightmares and granny invented this place. Elsa thinks To give her a series of stories to like take your mind off eight. It's a place you go when your eyes are half closed. You don't even have to get fully asleep to go there and it's made up of like six or seven kingdoms That all have these interesting. Names MEA MOSS and memo vaas. And there's lots of interesting little word play And it's not straightforward fantasy but there are princesses and nights and there are monsters in there are like shadows and things like that. Is it the seed siblings? Who had that elaborate doesn't will union. They may that doesn't really the most of it doesn't really exist anymore correct. It didn't survive. I mean yes Let me read two passages that give you a sense of what this world is? And then I'll talk about functions in the book Grainy says that the Kingdom had called me a moss for an attorney or at least ten thousand fairy tales but also knows the granny only made this up. Because Elsa couldn't say pajamas when she was small and used to say Mama's instead except of course grainy insist that she never made up a bloody thing in Miami and the other five kingdoms in the land of almost awake or not only real but actually far more real than the world. We're in now where quote everyone is an economist and drinks lactose free milk and makes a right fuss. Granny has a story from Yarmouth forever spending time on twitter. It sounds like granny likes to rail against the man a lot granny refers to this person. We'LL TALK ABOUT GRANNY. And and what she did as a surgeon but she talks a lot about capital society holding her back telling her you couldn't practice medicine Granier a story from MIYAMA's for every situation one of them is about deplores. The kingdom were all sorrow is kept in storage and it's princess was robbed of Magical Treasurer by an ugly witch whom she's been hunting. One was about the sea angel burdened by curse that forced her to drift up and down the coast of the land of almost a week after losing her beloved and it goes on and on and on like The builds to this war and see this happen whenever you encounter in the book. It IS ELSA. Remembering a story that her grandmother told her You know the one fairy tale. The shadows tried to abduct the Chosen. One in order to destroy this place but the cloud animal saved him and flew him all the way back to me. Moss and when the shadows came after them all the inhabitants. The six kingdoms of the land of almost week agreed to protect him and that was when the war without end started And so you get like never ending. Yeah it's very never ending story and you get character names you get wolf heart you get these beasts called resources you get the Chosen One. You get the C. Angel And Elsa has has these as a frame of reference for a body of fiction which she like occasionally will call out granny for like stealing things from Harry Potter or is unlike because Elsa loves Harry Potter and has a Griffin Doors. Scarf cares for it in the way that a seven year old cares for like a prized possession Harry Potter or And you know granny has invented this whole series of stories and as Elsa meets people over the course of the book she realizes that each of these stories like pertain to one of the people who live in the apartment building. So I did experience as you're going through the book. The fairy tales feel like they. Don't feel like filler. But they feel like you you you you know. They're a set up for something else as opposed to something to necessarily be taken on. Its own does that make sense Like they're not bracketed off in their own chapters where there's a compelling narrative to like Hook into. They are shared with the reader as Elsa remembers a story that she can use to make sense of the world. The reason it feels a little magical realism. E is that Elyssa then dislike commits to using some of the vocab from these stories like in the close third person that you're reading selection meets this guy who she is just decided is the monster. He turns out to be more like the old man from home alone where he scary but he's actually very helpful and kind and is just a sad person. I'm shows up at the exact right times whenever you're in trouble. There's this big monster dog that lives in the apartment complex for some reason and she constantly refers to it as the fairy tale word the worse And that never changes so like the book never actually tells you what kind of dog it is or anything because through the kids is that is the is the narrator you have this. Patina of fairy tale over everything Does that does that. Invite you to make up your own like play along at home and make up your own stuff to 'cause I imagine a worse to be just like a worse horse. It's a Portmanteau of worse and horse. Maybe in my head Oh God. I hadn't thought about that. She does like I'm on it and it's supposed to be like monstrously big at one point. She you can't the the the narrative style and there's not a I can't even pull out a section of the book that will give you this feeling but the the third person aerator is so close to her. That sometimes in the middle of reading I would think I was reading a first person narrative because it's so in her head That when she is talking about like providing treats to this dog that she's like keeping in the basement of this apartment building but she's talking about it like she's feeding this mythical creature Like instant cake. Mix Out of a thermos You're you're not quite sure. What like Elsa version is real and what the quote unquote like? Active reality is and that seems to be the point and that show. That could be a a bouncing off point. I think for people who are like into the heart warming learn about my granny's life narrative. But aren't here for the what is real and what is in work and it's a lot of work but it is some or you just kind of need to be willing to gloss it a little bit and I will be honest. I think I lost some of it because I once I realized what it was doing I would like look for the key parts of a story and then be ready to map it onto some of the other characters that already met because it sounds like there's a lot of world building going on that is just kind of there to flesh out the characters imaginary world without really conveying important information to you. The reader like world buildings not important if you're if the world actually is not what's driving the yeah dory if not what? The book is focused on being about if he to to talk about. The book does value stories. So I don't WanNa like short sell their presence in the book but them being compelling standalone narratives is not the point the point. I think what Batman's going for is like a these. Are you know stories? A grandmother told her granddaughter to help her through times and here is how that granddaughter uses them to help herself through times And Elsa interacts with anyone her own age throughout this book so every time she is talking about these stories and she talks to all the every adult about fairy tales stories but also how she talks with her grandmother. They are bridges between generations. So I think the book the book is offering or arguing. That stories can draw people together even as they are like at very different points in their lives Similarly like a scene where else's talking to a woman who's a psychotherapist Who has you know? Lost people in her life and has developed a drinking problem and isn't really relating to people very well and else is trying to convince her to read Harry Potter. Because like how do you own thousands of books and not own Harry Potter is an argument? She gets in with. This adult will miss okay and like later in the book. People are both that woman as well as her dad or like trying to read those stories so that they can relate to this girl that is like that they value and want to feel valued There's a similar thing with another character and like them watching star wars together so it's like both the fairy tales of the book and the Real World Fictional stories. This character is interested in Are used as bridges between people as opposed to like standalone stories that we're going to spend time with sure So you talked a little earlier. About the perspective which is third person verging on first person sometimes And so the the qurqus reviews piece that I read about. This is is mostly positive like the reaction to this book is is largely positive but finding constructive criticism is a good place. I think so. You're trying to record a book. Podcast for like fifty five minutes. Kirk says the third person narrative voice when aligned with else's perspective reveals heartfelt innocent observations but when moving towards on missions. It can read as too clever by half. I think that's that comes up for me a lot. One an adult author is writing a kid voice. Sometimes sometimes the kid voice is kid. I is like childish in there like understanding or articulation of things even if they still get at the essential truth because of how perceptive children `red children have branded themselves as being no so like. But but then. But sometimes it's like. Oh Yeah you're this is clearly like a thirty two year old writing a seven year olds and this is why this information is here and the sounds like this. Yeah so let me give you two examples. I think that actually get to that before before I do that myself. there's A. There's a running thing where several elsa is frustrated by the older people in her life who don't understand technology and that doesn't that feels true to me it even as it might be backman having fun with technology himself the fact that a a seven year old would ask some old people that she's talking to to use their computer to look a word up on wikipedia and then be confused that the computer is two separate pieces and that it takes a minute to start like that's like a thing. It plays for good goof in the moment Her rely or familiarity with ipads and the her lack of credulity that anyone would use anything else like. It's that feels like a precocious seven-year-old to me. There's stuff that I think. Works as as humorous writing but I could see falling under that umbrella of like a clever author Okay so I'll give you those gambles one of the things that I like about. This book is the way it gives you like. Remember like it's almost like the western game because you have so many people living in this one apartment building that you need like quick character sketches and no specific traits to hang your hat on. So they're like everybody. Everybody gets to be like this. Is The guy who has a lot of mop? Yes this is the lady who wears pink all the guy who drinks coffee all the time and when he and his wife drink coffee in front of their dog Samantha. They don't say they're having coffee. They call it. A drink for grownups. 'cause they train that's just that's combining all my favorite stuff about coffee people and dogs. There's one so else's mom has remarried with this guy named George She is going to have another kid. Who else refers to as Haffey? Because it's going to be a half sibling. And she has very mixed feelings about it. Georgia's apparently a really lovely guy who everyone likes his superpower. Elsa loves superheroes as you talk about people having superpowers a lot But Elsa has refused to let herself like him because then she would be like giving in. And that's how she can express like some sort of agency here. But here's this. Here's I felt very seen and attacked in in this section on George Lucas. George lives with mom. And that's not always the easiest things because it means he also lives next door to granny. He has a beard and a very small hat is obsessed with jogging during which he insists on wearing his shorts top of his tracksuit he cooks in English and so when he's reading the recipes he says he says pork instead of flask. Granny never calls him George just loser which infuriates mom but Elsa knows what grains doing it she just wants Elza. No she's on else side no matter what the like. He has a beard and a small hat and is one of those dudes is obsessed with jogging. Like okay attack me Craig. They that's the description of Craig has definitely me and I think is missing. Is the bird wall strew but like that is a those. Observations play to an adult reader. Like if they play a joke they land for an adult reader. That Bachmann is talking to like around. Elsa it's not else's point of view that might be making those interesting or funny right similarly with this guy named Kent In the flat under Granny's live. Britt Marie. And can't they like owning things and especially likes telling you how much everything costs. He's hardly ever at home because he's an entrepreneur or a contra preneurs as he likes to joke loudly to people he doesn't know and if people don't laugh right away he repeats it even louder as if they're hearing is the problem and so like continuing. Our nickelodeon references is a real a real Mr Dink. It is a real dink so like against some of those humorous observations and character sketches come from an adult awareness of how people behave. That is perhaps just passed. What you might reasonably believe as else's precociousness but maybe you can just say Oh elsa conveying to me what she sees and an. I'm mostly worked so I can keep going. Yeah I liked those passengers. I pulled them because I thought they were funny. And like reveal a little bit of the sense of humor of the book but I could see someone going. Well that's not else's sense of humor. That's the authors and it's like intruding on what? I am getting out of it like. That wasn't my experience of reading it but I certainly could see how someone would experience at that shirt And I've alluded to the other people in the apartment building. 'cause like so the the setup of the novel there couple ticking clocks. There's the impending. Half Sibling is obviously granny's passing. Which happens early. And then it's like okay. We gotta do this adventure where we give these letters out And then there is also kind of a background drama of will. The tenants be able to form a lease association and by. I think that's what it's called in the book. They're gonNA buy the apartments from the owner of the building Okay and then put up one last show and save the old performing Arts Center. Yeah it feels like that. Experts very contentious because Kent is the one driving this and angling for it and he turns out to be a right. He'll let me tell you what But he is like driving it for what are clearly like money reasons like he's going to buy it and then he's just GonNa flip it because it's a good neighborhood And you learn over the course of the book that some of the people in the apartment probably couldn't afford to make that decision you also learn over the course the book that granny is the one who does own the apartment building so the like arc of are these people going to be able to stay together. Are they going to do they? Should they stay together? And how? What Role. Will Elsa play in that is like the other kind of macro level things so you do spend a lot of time kind of bopping between the different rooms in this apartment complex house thing? I'll admit I lost a little sense of like the physical reality of it and that may be the influence of the of the fairy tales idol is I had a hard time kind of keeping track of the geography even though that that did seem to be important to Elsa I e Okay Yeah you said that was just invalidated the point I was GonNa say I I was GonNa ask if that was if that was the point because I mean maybe two pe- to people who don't live in in an apartment complex like the point of it kind of is that it mostly looks the same right. Yeah Yeah I I'm just saying I kinda lost. There's a couple like I dare. I feel weird even calling them like actions sequences but there are series of physical action. That happened at times. That do seem to hinge on like relationships between spaces that I would lose the thread a little bit. So it's what you're saying is it's clear that the author has a picture director wants you to have a picture of this in mind but it was not conveyed in a way that you could at least follow. At least I had trouble with it. Perhaps because I was you know distracted by the magical realist language or I was. You know to invest in the emotional part. I'm not sure I didn't. I had a hard time. Kraken it the other characters that we meet our like. There's this guy name Alf. Who's a taxi driver? Whose whole thing isn't that. He can. At least that we see he does curse too much. He loves listening to opera. And it's just like Alf from the show Alf Ruth and he's the one of the first characters like the second wave of characters that like get involved in else's like quest like oh. Wow He knew granny in a way that Elsa never knew about and like is going to get revealed over the course of the book He's one of the first ones that like really has a like a More Iceberg under the under the water. Line what you know what I mean. That's how they What they say. And then they don't say we don't say it's only the tip of the iceberg anymore we say there's more iceberg under the waterline. And then there's a guy that Elsa starts out car calling the monster who's a scary man alone As I alluded to before. He's the kind of old man from alone character but she meets him he definitely has a heart of gold his clearly suffering from PTSD from some wars that he's been in And is incredibly like GERMOPHOBIC and stuff and he will like he travels around with her. She ends up giving him the name. Wolf heart because this character from the fairy tales that was modeled after him. And and the reason all these people actually live in this apartment building. There's a couple people that grew up in it and then the rest made their way there because of granny and she was this like world traveling successful surgeon who clearly did a lot of doctors without borders kind of warzone work and working with refugees and stuff so a number of the characters like had a tragic thing happen to them in a different part of the world and then she brought them back or at least invited them to stay and then they never left So the to me. There's like the the book as Fairy Tale if you look at the whole book as a fairytale it is not a fairy tale with a like binary morality It's not a like good guys. Bad guys is It it traffics in like heroes that defeat villains but then like every one of those stories takes a swerve until zone of of like moral gray. Well everybody everybody's hero sometimes or something. Yeah I think the like it's either that or a real life. Isn't that simple kid? Yeah and there's like A. There's a way that granny puts it that I think involves cursing that I'm not gonNA say on air but it's like sure should something about like most of the time people can be bad and your life is really just about making sure that you're good enough most of the time or like not being bad and it's a real like y'all need to run faster than the slowest when your pursued by a Predator. I'll have to be better than the words laws. I'll get to the let me make sure I come back to that like. Who are the worst people in this book? Because I think that's a weakness there's a weakness there but what I was because I guess I guess I'm wondering if there's an antagonised other than there is the big C there is yes okay The the thing about it as a fairy tale that I think mostly works is the serendipity of all these characters being connected and being like tied to granny in some way and them having these lives that are all like this person knows that person because they went on way to war and this person actually used to be in love with that person But then gave her up because they messed up and this person is really mean to else's mom because she actually thought that she was going to be able to like be a bigger part of her life and Everybody who is a jerk to someone else has a very like all. That's sad reason for being a jerk and not. There's not a single person in the Web. That doesn't have at least like one or two other nodes at least by the end of the book and that is very fairytale e be you know it's very it's fiction the fact that stuff is connected as often. You know it's not just coincidence. Right in a story it usually Riley as like somebody made it that way. Yeah and so like so. In a in a children's fairy tale where everything has meaning like all of these people being connected. That part of it is like a gift that granny is kind of giving her and like a very optimistic view of the world. I found a review by dude on his own site. Just this guy named Russ all berry who. I don't even know what his like I think he's just a guy with a blog is as a WHO also likes video games. But he wrote this. Russ all bear He wrote this review. That's Kinda Nice in is with my experience of the book. He says I am as a side note once again struck by the subtle difference in stories from cultures with a functional safety net. I caught my American brain puzzling through ways that some of the people in this book could still be alive and living in this apartment building since they don't seem capable of holding down jobs before realizing the story is not set in a brutal Hobson in jungle of all against all like the states. Wow that's that's a read in the existence of the safety net plays a role in this book apart from plays no significant role in this book apart from putting a floor under how far people can fall and yet it makes all the difference in the world and in some ways makes his plot possible so I just tossed here listen Khan counterpoint. Allowed the books that we've read on. This show can only exist if America is a brutal Hobbs in general. Yeah so wishes. Better for literature. I just Russ all bury his never thought I would discover that paragraph and I didn't know how much I needed to read it. Yeah after I read this book anyway. Yeah because I feel like often when we're reading books that are set in another country. It's like old times. Yeah it was very interesting to read a a modern European book but not a British book That was not like wrestling with a specific historical conflict or era. Like I feel like that's a lot of what we read for the show and and in fact you know for twenty thirteen twenty fifteen pretty zeitgeist e in its in its like young person has relative die and then goes on an adventure of sorts. Yeah shape yeah but also it. It talks about characters going off to wars plural and his very nonspecific. About what those are. It talks about The Wolf Heart. Is this refugee character from another country? And so it's it has a very generous Vibe towards people like migrant peoples in people who are displaced It does I think reference the soon Nami that hit India Okay because that is where the one woman like lost her family But it doesn't do it by name to says like a couple of years as this happened in a place not near here kind of thing. But other than that like the the realities of the world outside of this city and neighborhood are pretty like fuzzy on purpose I think to a positive effect so the thing that didn't really land for me Because Granny's Pretty Rad. I loved Elsa in this book. There's a scene where Elsa bangs on a dude's car with her textbook to to like make a mad that he beeped at her mom and traffic and else's like telling-off kids about whether or not she could wear spider man costume and like yelling at teachers else's just rules throughout this book There is an antagonist of sorts. Whose NAME IS SAM. You encounter him twice in the book before you know who he is and he is someone who attempts to take Elsa and you don't know who he is you don't know why he's doing what he's doing you just take her literally attempts to take her like Try to take her like from a playground near school at one point. He's and she is saved. And she is saved by the monsters slash wolf heart at that point and then similarly at granny's funeral she she like she can't handle the funeral and I will say that a lot of what I think was hitting me in this book. Both in like in my gut and also in my head was like in ways to the two things in ways that I was conscious of and in ways that I think are only like hitting me as I think about the book and Digest. The book is like I lost my grandmother. Who spent her entire life in my house when I was in eighth grade and so the the relationship between Elsa and her grandmother isn't like one to one with mine like losing someone like that who occupied a different role in your life It specifically being a grandmother and it being a unique relationship that definitely felt different from other relationships that you had or new. And there's a lot of Elsa that I'd just very personally identify with and so like that. Part of the book is very moving deserve frustrating To encounter this Sam character who like Elsa runs out of her grandmother's funeral because she can't handle it shares too many people there who apparently knew her grandmother and like I distinctly remember there being one or two people at my grandmother's funeral who else who is that person. Why do they know she is? That seems wrong And so she runs out of there. She runs out into the graveyard and this man tries to take her And I think Wolf Heart saves her again. I don't really remember that gets resolved but the man gets away Then we need to debrief on this man is he. Is the father of the another tenant the boy with a syndrome As Elsa Calls Him who is a is a boy a year younger than her. He does not speak For whatever reason And His mom is caring for him on her own and he had an abusive father who had dealt with anger issues and substance abuse issues and he turns out to be the son of one of the pairs of tenants And there's like a very like thin sliver of logic where because they like got away from him with the kid was young enough he doesn't quite like know what the kid looks like a few years later and because Elsa has a similar haircut. He actually thinks she's is like okay. And that's it's not especially nefarious. I guess well. It is NOT SPECIFICALLY NEFARIOUS TO ELSA. It is various real. Okay yes that's what I mean And I think what didn't work for me about it is that it felt like it wasn't it was it was It was like a glancing storyline against else's it like it was an antagonise. That wasn't actually about her quest. If that makes sense yeah I was GonNa say it feels like maybe inserted to to bend the dramatic arc of the book a Little Bit. S isn't especially well integrated into a book that otherwise seems pretty internally because the consistent right the build up to the the most climactic scene in the book the tensest scene in the book is the final attempt at this guy to take Elsa and The worse you know saves her in a very heroic fashion other characters who have been against her. Who could have like made it harder for people to help her have not done that? And and been kind to her along the way. So there's like many payoffs but it doesn't seem like the culmination of else's relationship with her granny. It doesn't seem like the culmination of her understanding her mom. Her Dad better scenes with her mom and her or really gorgeous and really heartwarming. And then this really feels like it was put in there to give some sort of suspense and like adventure. Anxiety to the book They're kind of like what will happen next when that isn't really what the book is strongest at I do think the way that Bachmann like reintegrates that plot into the epilogue of the book where it Kinda does alike. Here's where everyone winds up. Sorta way His parents do go like visit him in whatever facility or or you know place that he has taken after this event where I don't know I don't think it's just a jail I think it's something else And there it is very clear that like those characters believe that they have to do good by this person because he is a human and deserves basic goodness and that the book is very aware and else's very aware of the tension of what you do with like no that person harms people. How do I feel about that? And what do I do about that? And it's actually one of things like granny is connected to that person and she apologizes for her own misgivings about that person So the book treats it with a very nuanced lens which is nice and is actually part of what the books very good at. But the like. Here's a man who's here steel elsa else's it's like it doesn't feel connected to the central you know mysteries or stakes for the characters And it's Weird I. I don't know I haven't felt I haven't read a book in a while. That felt like it had something so dislike kind of like out of place like it's almost like a garden and there's just like one flower that's just like at a completely different angle like maybe it's like a different plants and like it's a fine plan. It just doesn't belong here. Short messing up the whole aesthetic. Yeah this is like the Uganda. Despite not owning a switch or playing animal crossing gone to very animal crossing place with this this man. I mean it's all. Is there gardening outside animal? Crossing ninety real life might be based on the mechanics of animal crossing. Actually yeah I mean yes. That's true all things flow from Mr Nintendo. Jim Tanto it's true. This is a fun book. I did really like it. I I could see how folks would bounce off it and I could see how and I personally found like as I said the same thing a little underwhelming but it is GonNa read this book right now. There's a lot of grief in it and so just be careful but I I think Similar felt with a death in the family. I think it's an interesting book for where you might put some specific griefs or find some ways to like think about how other people deal with it If in and again I I don't want to oversell. How like the book being dislike a sad book it's actually very And and charming but yeah it's a real Israel. There's a thing he says a couple times. Where like there's a phrase? There's too much reality for an eight year. Old is like a phrase that happens a couple of times when yeah? That's yeah I can see that. When when the adults like lean heavy on a real story that they are explaining to Elsa and she kind of gets fuzzy and loses some of the details and she just says there's too much with the narrator says that's too much reality for eight year old and like yeah. I get it I get it. It did have Dow thirty minutes ago. It did have a hey arnold building value to it because there's that episode and I was going to bring it up but then we move past it and so I wasn't going to force to go back to fair enough. There was an episode of. Hey Arnold where? Arnold has to collect the rent from each of the tenants who live in the building that his grandparents are like the landlords of and he gets caught up in like a bunch of short little stories at which is because they're a bunch of tenants and I think Hey Arnold was eleven minute like each twenty two minute. Episode was two eleven minute stories and to do that at eleven. Minutes is pretty. That's pretty fast. But yeah that that. That is what came to mind when you were doing your descriptions especially once I landed on Arnold's grandparents as the as my sort of Canon for herger her granny. Yeah let me just go out on a quote about Granny Talking you know. We hear about how she was this warzone surgeon. Did all this wonderful work. But one day someone decided she was too old to save. Lives EVEN BELLSA. Quite strongly suspects what they really meant by. Two old was too crazy. Granny refers to this as society and says it's only because everything has to be so bloody politically correct. Nowadays that she's no longer allowed to make incisions in people and that it was really mainly about society getting so bleeding fussy about the smoking ban in the operating theaters and who could work under these sorts of conditions. It's grainy is out there to tell it like it is and not suffer. Fools an Elsa picks up on that and it's it's pretty endearing she should start a radio shock jock. Your Ram grants yeah. Granny would eat that. Roll up if she could Thanks me tell you about this book Andrew Tell me about. I don't know that we're really solve the mystery of what Susan likes about this book but probably all the same things that I liked is what say her. Yeah Susan Leszno send us an email over potted dot com season and let me know if I got it right Twitter DOT COM over to facebook dot com slash over to pot of the websites that you can use to tell me if I'm or wrong Thanks to Neil Meghan Danny Me Michelle. Barb Heather Joshua Marta Ebony Mike Anthony Kyle Amber Terry many more. We did one of our what. You're reading threads in the last week. So check those feeds out if you need some book recommendations aside from what we're eating which is clearly what you should be reading Andrew folks want to know more about the show or should they go overdo podcasts dot coms that Web site. We have links to apple. Podcasts and Google play. We're also available on spotify. Stitcher anywhere else. You can find podcasts. in lieu of our regular SPIEL. I think we wanted to talk about one. Larger thing that we're going on the on the website Going forward so we have had for a long time like since we started we've had links to Amazon to buy the books that we are reading and have read so that you know people who listen to an episode then WanNa get a book can do that and we get a tiny cut of that but we want to do. Our part is like an independent podcast that is supported by listeners to support independent bookstores. Yeah that are local to you. So we are starting to Put up links to bookshop dot org pages for the books that we are reading. That is a site that basically blinks you up with local independent bookstores to get the books that we are eating. Yeah you can still buy the books online. But you can designate. You know affiliates towards local bookstores or help you find in your local bookstore With a lot of them are having time right now. So what better? Time to start supporting them if you aren't already So we thought this would be like it. Would it would dovetail well with our values and it would help the wider book community. That's the goal. Anyway Yeah Yeah They're e-book solution is not like totally ideal. And we're still figuring out what we're GONNA do you. They're like if we're GONNA keep putting Amazon links up alongside the bookshop links or if we're going to go and look into like Kobo or barnes and Nobles Nook or like some other like e reader ecosystem that still something that we're figuring out on our end but the bookshop. Things should be done this week. We have a shot page. That will put up. That has all the books for all the episodes. We've done a few curated lists for some series and some other things. But then if you're going through yeah if you're going through the back catalogue. You should find the website on on the website. Yes specifically you should find links to every do all the books that we could find on bookshop Which is a way to both support? Our if you want but also to support local bookstores and bookshops mission which is Great Again if a book doesn't have that We weren't able to do that. And you might see some other links that we are hoping to add. We're trying to be flexible. And trying to put it in time to make sure that people can find books where they wanna find books and not just resort to one big corporate organism. That's it that's it all right. Everybody Next week I am going to be Reading Orlando biography by Virginia Woolf. Um We've also at some point this month we've got the hell boys episode going up that gets us to the end of Paradiso. That'll come out at the end of the month. Take a look for that. Take a look out for. That is what I look out for that. That's just the rest of the icebergs underwater guys. Take a look out for that iceberg. It's under the waterline. Everybody thanks for listening to our ninety s nickelodeon cartoon Fan and until we get your next week. Try Be happy A that was a hit gum podcast.

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