It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not…Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun, feel-good book for all ages.
A few months ago I bought The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared when I found it after stumbling across it on the list of Top 100 Paid books on Amazon. I was intrigued by the title & by the idea of the story. The reviews were all 5-star & it seemed like a good purchase, especially at the really low price it was selling for at the time.
Then I started reading it & I was so disappointed! I found the writing style hard to come to grips with & I wasn’t connecting with the main character, Allan Karlsson, so I stopped reading it after about the 3rd chapter. But the thing was, I must have connected with Allan more than I realised, because I couldn’t stop thinking about him & wondering what he was up to! So, after a few days I decided to suspend reality & give the 100-year-old man a try again. I am so glad that I did! I ended up loving this book – loving the crazy cast of characters & laughing out loud at the audacity of what Allan & his cohorts were getting up to.
I have seen this book described as the book form of Forrest Gump, but I think that this does a disservice to Jonas Jonasson’s writing & to his story. The Hundred-Year-Old Man is nothing like Forrest Gump. Now, even though I did love the book, there are points in The Hundred-Year-Old Man when it took me a few minutes to realise what was happening because the book is written in both the present & in the past – where the story of Allan’s life is told in flashbacks, but sometimes there is no warning that this has happened/is happening, which meant that a few times I had to go back & re-read passages to figure out what was happening.
Other than that though, I really cannot complain about this lovely little book & I am so glad that I gave it another go!