Thursday, April 17, 2014
Book Review: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Enjoyment Rating: ***
This book would be rated: PG-13 or R for violence
On Allan Karlsson's hundredth birthday, he climbs out the ground-floor window of his retirement home and makes a run for the train station in an attempt to escape the hubbub of his birthday party. He appears to be a sweet old man who doesn't even think to trade out his slippers for shoes before he slips out and down the road. But when he's asked to watch a suitcase for a young man who needs to use the restroom, it sets off a madcap adventure and everyone, even the reader, underestimates the experiences and aptitude of this doddering old man.
If Forrest Gump had been born forty years earlier, lived in Sweden, and lived to be a hundred, you'd have the story of Allan Karlsson. Karlsson's life intersects with Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Truman, Johnson, and he climbs mountains, drinks with famous men everywhere, and gets thrown in jail innumerable times. Jonasson does a nice job balancing Karlsson's history with the adventures to preserve the suitcase, and the growing menagerie that surrounds Karlsson. The book is completely farfetched, but also pretty fun to read.