Book Club: And Every Day the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
And Every Day the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Frederik Backman
I'm a die-hard Frederik Backman fan so while I'm waiting for his new book to be translated from Swedish to English and released in the US, I decided to read one of his shorter novellas. This story was so touching and made me tear up at times, despite its shorter length. It's amazing how an author can make you feel so many emotions within so few pages. I knew I had to share my thoughts with you guys.
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove,My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.
With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.
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My great-grandmother had Alzheimer's before she ultimately succumbed to the disease back in 2009. She was diagnosed when I was too young to really understand what was happening to her and realize that her "forgetting" things wasn't silly or cute. My mom and my grandmother were heartbroken every time my great-grandmother would start insisting on having her husband nearby, despite him having died before my grandmother (her daughter) was even born.
I thought about her a lot while reading this novella. The relationship between the grandpa and grandson made me stand back in awe of such a beautiful love. The grandfather's memory is fading. You're never told what it is (dementia, Alzheimer's, etc.), you just read about how hard the grandfather is trying to hold on to the memories of his grandson he loves so much that he calls his name twice every time (Noahnoah instead of just "Noah" because, according to the grandfather, he loves his grandson twice as much as anyone else).
You're taken to the grandpa's mind where he has all these memories of people in different times - his wife before he died, his son as a child, and... his grandson who he doesn't want to ever forget. He knows this is inevitable and there's a really touching moment where they talk about goodbyes. The grandson states that he hates goodbyes but the grandfather explains that luckily, they'll have lots of time to practice saying goodbye that by the time it's time to really say goodbye, it'll be perfect. If that doesn't make you tear up a bit, I don't know what will.
I thought of how hard my great-grandma must have fought before she died. I remember the nonsensical things that she would sometimes say and how it would make my grandmother cry as she prayed for one more lucid day. I remember one instance when I happened to see my great-grandmother crying. I asked her what was wrong and she just couldn't tell me. I think about what her mind must have looked like, and if it was similar to the picture painted by Frederik Backman's words.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves sweet and sappy books like this one. And even if you don't, it's a short novella, not a long novel so it wouldn't take up too much time. Try it. Read it.