If you can (oh what the heck, it’s my blog, I can do whatever I want with it), then that’s exactly what The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared is. Plainly speaking, this book is a whole lot of fun, even if you aren’t a big history buff.
This lovely, funny, rollicking little book was cooked up by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson (side note, isn’t this a fantastic name?). It came out in Sweden back in 2009 and as far as I’m aware, is a debut novel. I don’t know why it’s been all over the papers lately and promoted like crazy in the last two bookstores I wandered into (maybe it just took them awhile to get to an English translation? Maybe it just came out in paperback? I’m genuinely not sure), but when my friend recommended it on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. A few clicks of the Kindle later and I was ready to read.
The story is quite charming in its Forrest Gump-like narrative, which is told in a mix of present-day action and flashbacks to the past. Allan Karlsson jumps out the window of the old people’s home on the morning of his 100th birthday, and the story follows his improbable escape, as well as his presence at some of the most historically significant events of the 20th century. It’s really brilliant – funny, charming and smart – and a really quick read.
I finished it with lots to think about – both in terms of 20th century history and the realities of aging and death – which means it would be an exceptional book club pick. I’d recommend this one to anyone of any age – it’s nice reminder that sometimes we take the little details of our lives far too seriously.