Yesterday I finally finished this 75 page emotional rollercoaster. I will admit, I am still not entirely sure I properly understand the ending – especially the last page. But, I will say that I didn’t have to in order to grasp the message.
If you are like me, and had or have a loved one suffering from dementia I highly recommend this novella. Not only was I able to connect with the characters, but it made me aware of things I was personally struggling with that I was unaware of. I realized I buried a lot of pain away and it took these 3 characters to dig it out of me. That’s how powerful I believe the writing was.
Also, I think this novella is allowed me to see into the mind of a person struggling with dementia. I obviously knew these things and yet I did not know them at the same time. I was aware of the suffering because I have seen it first hand. I also know that any right minded person would be terrified to lose themselves in their own mind. But I did not fully grasp the struggle until this poor grandpa literally began to bleed trying to hold on to himself.
If you don’t have a loved one with dementia, I still recommend this book. You will see it differently than I but I still believe you will be able to understand and empathize. The tragic decay of a cluttered city square is truly heartbreaking and relatable. Why? Because when it comes to dying we only have two choices: accept it and use the memories for comfort or deny it and use the memories as a desperate attempt to hold on.
My overall rating for Fredrik Backman’s novella is a 5/5.