Thursday, December 8, 2016


Gamma is the name my youngest grandchild calls me.  Makes sense; if your mother is Ma then it follows that Grandmother is Gamma.

Oh no, I'm sounding like the story I just finished, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, by Fredrik Backman. If you like fantasy, you'll enjoy this book.  I had trouble getting into it. Simultaneously, I'm reading: Mary, Queen of Heaven by Scott Hann, Chesterton's Everlasting Man (for the second time), Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching by Anthony Esolen, and The Many Sides of Peace by Brayton Shanley, among various others, which explains why reading a novel like My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry was hard to get used to.

Of course, I did -- get used to it.  How could one not?  This is the type of book that keeps a smile on your face throughout your entire reading.  The theme is the importance of grandmothers to their grandchildren.  Intergenerational differences are celebrated.  In fact, individual differences are celebrated per se.  The story line involves a little girl delivering letters (which isn't easy) to people the grandmother wants to apologize to.  This simple idea, however, is interwoven in the fantasy world the grandmother made up for children.  It works, trust me, it works ingeniously.

My favorite part of the book is when two grandparents visit their grandson in prison.  This direct quote will give you a taste of the author's writing:

And probably a lot of people think Maud and Lennart shouldn't do that, and that types like Sam shouldn't even be allowed to live, let alone eat cookies.  And those people are probably right.  And they're probably wrong too.  But Maud says she's firstly a grandmother and secondly a mother-in-law and thirdly a mother, and this is what grandmothers and mothers-in-law and mothers do.  They fight for the good.

See why I enjoyed the book?  By the way, this is a Christmas story because of the timing of the climax and ending.  So it was perfect for my book club, Argonauta, whose Christmas party is tonight.  I finished this book at breakfast--nine hours before the meeting.  I had to finish it.  I enjoyed it too much to miss out on the discussion.  I recommend it so you don't miss out on this unique story and delightful gamma.

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