Saturday, 20 April 2013

In group or out group?

When I went to visit my brother he was extolling the virtues of a book called 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson. According to him it made him laugh out loud and we all need that in our lives, so I bought a copy.

I now realise my brother's sense of humour and mine are really far apart as the book hardly raised a smile, let alone a laugh.

The book is about Allan Karlson, who on his hundredth birthday climbs out of his window and escapes from the nursing home he's in and the party that's arranged for him. We then get taken on a journey with Allan as he steals a suitcase full of money at a bus depot and heads off into the wide blue yonder of Sweden. During his journey he's involved with several murders, whilst trying to elude the owner of the suitcase and the police and we also get to read about Allan's early life, which, Forrest Gump-like has Allan at major points in history and tells of his enormous influence in them.

Although the book started quite well, and I did like having the central character being someone of age, after a few chapters I got bored and, as the story went from ridiculous situation to ridiculous situation, began to find the whole thing tedious and silly and not particularly well written.

However, if you look on Amazon for the feedback there are over 3,000 people who gave it 5 or 4 stars, compared to the 124 who gave it 1 star (where I would rate it) and the 163 who gave it 2.

What worries me slightly with this is that I've now chosen to give away 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes for World Book Night (I've been a giver ever since it started 3 years ago) and if you look at the feedback for that there's over 2,000 5 star reviews and 25 1 star reviews. I know the book is chick lit and I have no problem with that, but it will be interesting to see which camp I fall into after reading it - and yes, I did choose a book I'd never read (as I also did for the other 2 years) as I like the idea of giving a book away that I can also say I'm going to read too. I chose this book especially because it's about disability which I think is an important subject which can be treated in a light-hearted way.

I wonder whether I'll continue the trend and be an out group member? We'll see.


  1. I wonder if humorous books are more likely to divide opinion than 'serious' ones? Sometimes, I think, humour is more a matter of personal taste.

    I haven't read the Moyes book - I hope you enjoy it. I had the opposite strategy. I went for 'The Island' by Victoria Hislop because I'd enjoyed it and I hoped others would too. It's a nice idea though to experience a new book together.

    1. I think you might be right Karen re humorous vs serious. I'm looking forward to reading the Moyes book. Currently I'm reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, which I think is brilliant. I think his writing is fantastic. Have you read it?

    2. I started reading it, and then got distracted for some reason. I remember thinking the characters were very well observed. Perhaps I should give it another go?

    3. I got sidetracked by Me Before You! Loving that, but it's a real easy read. I'm off on retreat on Friday and will be taking The Corrections with me, so I'll let you know how I get on with it.