Monday, May 29, 2017

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman Sundberg ~ Book Review

Martha Andersson is 79 years old and living at a seniors home in Stockholm. In her mind, things are just going downhill there. The food is getting worse, they are being rationed and are basically locked in...all cost cutting measures the owner feels he needs to establish. With the help of the main nurse who is trying to gain a partnership and a husband, they have gone too far in Martha's estimation. To her, the seniors are being treated as children. So she decides to enlist her four friends from the home to start rebelling against the establishment. Naming themselves the League of Pensioners, they start an uproar by not going to bed when they are supposed to, breaking into the staff kitchen after hours to make themselves better tasting meals, etc. All pretty harmless until they start to devise a plan to fund what they think will be a better retirement plan than living at that home. Even a year or so in prison would be better than their current situation, or so they figure.

 I really enjoyed this hilarious crime caper involving senior citizens. It is translated from a Swedish author and has made the International Bestseller's list. I didn't find anything getting lost in the translation It's a humorous, silly, quirky and yet has a strong underlying message on how we as society view and treat our elderly. Throughout the book I kept imagining my 84 year old mom with her cane and walker attempting the biggest heist of the century and getting away with it. Martha and her gang have never done anything like this in their entire lives, but when they plan stealing rich peoples personal items at a fancy hotel they figure they have it planned down to the minutest detail. What could possibly go wrong? When they don't get quite what they thought they figure they will "kidnap" some priceless paintings from the art gallery and hold them for ransom. Stumping the best of the country's detectives, could things actually turn out as they hope?

 The story is written is such a light, engaging way that you are immediately drawn right into the lives of these seniors.  The main characters are written well and their individual personalities are all developed well even though their are actually about 8 main characters within the story.   I, as the reader,  was drawn to take a liking to every senior character. Even the must have "grumpy old man". And yet within the chaos and crime, there is a real underlying message of the worth and ability of even the most elderly and just because one is aging does not mean they want to be hidden away watching tv all day long. It also causes one to think of the mandates of senior residences and what each owner or foundation sees as important. The bottom line or care of the people who pay to live there. I realize each country runs things differently for it's senior citizens but it really does make one think about our attitudes and views. I found it a real fun read, perfect for summer. I noticed there is a second book continuing the story so I will be getting that for sure.  I gave this a good, solid 9/10.  I thought it could have wrapped up just a little bit sooner but still thoroughly enjoyed it.


Deb said...

I am going to look for this one. I think I would really like it! Thanks for the review. Happy Monday!

Barbara H. said...

I had wondered about this one. Sounds like a lot of fun. After having my m-i-l in a few different facilities, I agree that we do need to think about how we care for our elderly.

Susan said...

I have the honour of overseeing the senior ministry at my church. I can picture some of them behaving in the same way. I reserved this book from the library as an ebook. Thanks for the review