Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2019

Doris, 96, still lives on her own in Sweden, with the assistance of delivered meals and daily helper calls that clean and help her bathe. She visits with her only relative, her American grand-niece Jenny, via Skype. One day she decides that she’d like Jenny to know more about her past. Flipping through her address book, she finds most of the people in there crossed out with “dead” written beside them. How did she outlast them all? She begins to write her memoirs, meaning for Jenny to find them after she is gone.

But Doris has a fall, lands in a hospital, and Jenny flies to her side, bringing her baby with her. She finds Doris’s memoirs- losing her father at a young age, being sent to work as a maid at 13 by her addict mother, being taken to Paris by her employer, becoming a high fashion model, falling in love, losing her love, fleeing to America, and finding her way back to Stockholm- and is deeply touched. She’s most touched by the love of Doris’s life- what ever happened to him? It’s the biggest loose end in Doris’s adventurous life.

I liked the book; Doris’s life was very interesting although I did wonder at a couple of things, such as, why did she continue to leave her kid sister with their unstable mother, once she’d started earning good money? The end was lovely, but kind of predictable in a Hallmark Channel sort of way. The message in the story is live your life well; in the end, all you have are memories, good or bad. Four stars.

1 comment: