The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared was first published in 2009 and became a hit… it is a highly recommended book which has now a movie adaptation as well. It first became a phenomena in Sweden and later in the whole world and the author Jonas Jonasson apparently sold all his belongings and moved to Switzerland where this little book was born. I have to say that it was not unlike the main character Allan.
The story is about Allan who is hundred years old and decides to change something in his life. It might not seem like a big thing, but he slowly changes a lot of lives and a lot of events happen because he climbed out of that window and started to make decisions he might not take if he was 80 years younger. We venture into Allan’s past and find out about his days many decades before the current time and get to know him pretty well to understand that the calm grandpa we see now has had a huge importance in the world history for years.
I am back! After battling some health issues, I hope to slowely (or fast, you know) get back into reading. The past few weeks have been really stressful and I wasn’t able to concentrate much, but I hope everything is going to be wonderful, especially now when I have the lovely Mad Hatter Tea in my cup as I am writing this, it was courtesy of the wonderful Petite Tea Lover and I hope you will find her blog interesting as well. Tea and reading should really go hand in hand, shouldn’t it?
But let’s get back to the book, shall we?
I read this book for quite a long time and I felt like the more I left between my reading sessions, the funnier and easier to read it became. I wanted to pick it up more, if I read it rarely, which is kind of a weird way of reading.
I remember reading reviews and very many stated that the book had too many accidents and that it was frustrating and I couldn’t really understand what does it mean and how could it possibility be. And then I started to read the book, oh boy, I understood all those reviews. Yes, it was annoying and partially I was able to let all the ‘accidents’ that happened exactly as they should have in order to have this story, to fly over my head, but at one point I just couldn’t do it anymore and it got me really frustrated. But as I said before – the longer the pauses the less irritated by theses coincidences I was.
I really enjoyed the language – a very pleasant manner and it radiated calmness that was the protagonists main characteristic. I really think that the translation must be very good because it translated the feeling the language gave very well and left me satisfied to have a look at other works by this author. Yet the things that were written in this book were in no way believable. The more you read, the more incredible everything gets.
The story has two story lines – one of present and one of past. At first I really disliked the past story line, I didn’t care about it and found it to be a distraction and a place filler to make the book longer, but as I started to see the significance in the things happening in past, I reevaluated my thoughts. Once the present started to make references to past and I had already read about the events described, suddenly the past became more interesting and got really meaningful.
I honestly don’t really think that there was time when I liked both timelines at the same time. It never happen.
The location for this story is mostly in Sweden and in some various other locations on Planet Earth, but no matter where my favourite character was Allan, he always cared for the same things and never really changed much, which was nice and as calming as his personality. I also liked the inspector What’sHisName (the one who didn’t give all the press conferences), he seemed like a lovely person as well.
The character I least liked was the other inspector (the one with the press conferences). Yes, I know that those names should be ones I remember, but I just remember the first letters, the names are too Swedish for me which wasn’t really that much of a problem, because I was familiar with most of the other things – locations, history and languages/traditions.
Anyway, it was quite obvious that the story has a solution and I was so disappointed in the solution. I waited for it the whole book and was really expecting something good – if an author can come up with so many different jokes and connections, he sure should be able to make the story worth your while, shouldn’t he? It seemed that the solution was planned to be very humorous, but I didn’t like it, I didn’t find it funny and I wasn’t entertained when reading it – incredible, unbelievable and boring. I was just disappointed and soon after the solution of the story came the end to it as well.
It was a really funny and light book and I don’t know to whom I should recommend it. For youngsters it seems a bit too boring and misleading because of all the alternative history possibilities, but for older audience it seems to be too comical and not serious enough. So it is a bit of a pickle and one should just decide, if this type of humor is one (s)he can tolerate. My boss saw me reading it and told me that he didn’t finish it – so here it is some rate it five stars, some find it ridiculous and don’t even finish it. I gave it three stars mostly because of the big pauses in reading and the fact that I forgot about my frustration and remembered only the entertaining parts. I know that when I was in the middle I wanted to give it two, but that doesn’t count anymore!
Let me know in the comments what you thought about the book and once again big shout-out to Petite Tea Lover for the Tea!