The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
I am quite certain I have a soft corner for Swedish authors. Fredrick Backman is one of my most favorite authors. Every book I have read of him has been a 5 star. And just to clarify my rating. I rate a book 5 stars simply because I see myself reading it again and again. There are only a few books that get into that category.
Now, coming back to “The Old Lady who broke all the rules” by a Swedish author Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg is another hidden gem. As the name suggests, the book is about one woman’s dream to live a better life. And how she gets her best friends to team up and make those dreams possible. The book has many characters, but you never get confused with either the names or any kind of over-explanation. The story moves at a good pace and keeps you interested in what these senior citizens are planning to achieve. Even though you know what they are doing is ethically wrong, but you still want them to succeed. Their innocence is contagious. Their enthusiasm to do more and expect more of their existence is contagious. You love every character for it’s flaws and quirks. The nicknames are adorable. It is hard not to fall in love with the choir of mismatched fellows. There are enough cliffhanger moments, so you want to keep reading. Chapters are short and quick that makes reading even more fun.
Without giving much away, I want to write about what I took from this pleasant read. Life stops being worth it when you stop believing in it. Again, as a person who has dealt with her share of traumas and depression (for over a decade now), I understand many factors affect our state of mind. Situations, people around us, friends, jobs, family, finances, health, and others influence our thinking. But if you have even one of those factors right, you find the worth in life to keep fighting for a better one. The group of 5 almost 80 years old are trying to better their conditions and live life on their terms well because they deserve it. And why not? They want to enjoy good food, sing songs, drink champagne, and dance all the way to their last breath. And to accomplish that, they end up breaking certain rules but also make amends to an extent.
There are so many laughable moments that the book only lifts your mood. The story reminded of one of my most favorite Indian movie titled, “Jaane bhi do yaaron”. A literal comedy of errors. And how sometimes even mistakes make sense in the end.
The other beautiful thing this book reiterates is to just enjoy life. Yes, we tried something new, and it was a total flop but at least we had fun. Whatever happens, let it, make memories even in the smallest moments.
The author draws such a wonderful picture of the streets, the lavish hotel, the loneliness of an old age home for the reader. I especially loved the lavish hotel and the cruise. It almost felt like I was a part of the story. Maybe one day.
I give this one 4.5 stars. A must-read for anyone in the mood of a light read with darn cute old people jokes. A heartfelt story of 5 hilarious people who want an adventurous life and will do everything to make it possible. So what if they need their walkers and sticks to stand up straight or who keep forgetting their own clearly laid out plans.
“Just because society develops, it doesn’t mean it gets better.” A line from the book that resonated with me deeply. And somehow it describes our present world perfectly.