“Written with love, told with joy. Very easy to enjoy.”—Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove
For fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared comes a heartwarming debut about 96-year-old Doris, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come . . .
Meet Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She has few visitors, but her weekly Skype calls with Jenny—her American grandniece, and her only relative—give her great joy and remind her of her own youth.
When Doris was a girl, she was given an address book by her father, and ever since she has carefully documented everyone she met and loved throughout the years. Looking through the little book now, Doris sees the many crossed-out names of people long gone and is struck by the urge to put pen to paper. In writing down the stories of her colorful past—working as a maid in Sweden, modelling in Paris during the 30s, fleeing to Manhattan at the dawn of the Second World War—can she help Jenny, haunted by a difficult childhood, unlock the secrets of their family and finally look to the future? And whatever became of Allan, the love of Doris’s life?
A charming novel that prompts reflection on the stories we all should carry to the next generation, and the surprises in life that can await even the oldest among us, The Red Address Book introduces Sofia Lundberg as a wise—and irresistible—storyteller.
Lundberg's sometimes overly sweet debut centers on a 96-year-old Swedish woman passing down her life story by remembering the names in her address book. Doris may be old, but she doesn't want to be treated as such. However, when she ends up in the hospital after an accident, she must face her own mortality and desire for independence. Doris, who has lived a full and colorful life, wants to make sure her American granddaughter Jenny knows all about it before it's too late. So she sets about writing the story of her life, framed by the names in her address book. One by one she goes through the entries and describes her life at the time she was associated with each person modeling in Paris, then experiencing the horrors of WWII before moving to Sweden and marrying. While the present-day narrative is often cluttered with overly sentimental dialogue and hampered by an underwhelming account of Jenny's travel woes as she tries to reach Doris, Doris's life story is magnetic, and it's her strong personality and pearls of wisdom ("Start cultivating your talents rather than going through life thinking you aren't not good enough. In the end, that's all that really matters. You're never any more than your soul") that drive the book. Both story lines become melodramatic during the neatly tied ending, but fans of Fredrik Backman will find much to like here.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Beautiful Book and a Wonderful Read
There is a reason this book has been a best seller all over the world! It is a great read! “The Red Address Book” is the tender and touching story of Doris, a 96-year-old, as she approaches death. The story centers on her address book and those contained in it that she has loved. It is a gentle story yet the strength of Doris and her last living relative, Jenny, shines throughout. Both women, while handling Doris’ pending death in their own way, approach it with courage and grace. One of the things that makes this book wonderful to read and thought-provoking is that the grace both Doris and Jenny hold is not perfectly packaged. The journey is at times messy with uncertainty, doubt, and fear, but there is no mistaking it is rich with grace just the same. Like all great reads, “The Red Address Book” will leave you finishing the last page and wishing for more! I was honored to receive an advanced copy of this book through BookishFirst and the Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Wonderful, Heartbreaking and Worth It
What an incredible story. It made me laugh and cry and think about the lives of my life. Highly recommend it.