It was the title that caused me to pick up The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. The title and the cute, simple cover. The title, the cover, and the fact that it has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Ok, the title, the cover, the number of copies sold, and the tagline. “It’s never too late to start over…”
There are a number of reasons why I picked up this book, and I am so glad that I did.
The 100-Year-Old Man stands out as one of the most unique books I’ve read this year. It has an adventure, murder, crime, an elephant, and a really, really interesting cast of characters. Not only does it tell the story of Allan Karlsson’s escape from his retirement home, and all the trouble he gets into, but it also takes you on a journey through Allan’s fascinating life. In Allan, Jonasson has created the most interesting protagonist. He’s grouchy, he loves vodka, he doesn’t go looking for adventure and yet it always seems to find him, and he’s lived this amazing life, but just kind of shrugs about it.
Allan is exactly the type of character I want to read about.
The 100-Year-Old Man is that perfect end-of-summer read because it is so different from anything else you’ve read this summer, and is so easy to get into, but at the same time it’s not too heavy or dark. It’s light, it’s fun, and it’s interesting. If you love history you’ll love all the real historical figures that make an appearance. If you love action, you’ll love how each situation seems to escalate and how quickly the plot moves from mishap to mishap, country to country. This book is set in Sweden (and sometimes the Swedish town names do get confusing), but Allan reflects on many different trips, and (semi-spoiler alert) the characters do find themselves in an exotic locale…
It’s hard to talk too much about the content of the book because I don’t want to give anything away. But I do have to say, the scenes where Allan indulges in vodka with some key historical figures are my favourites.
When I talked about this book to my co-workers I said it reminded me of two things: Forrest Gump and Up.
Forrest Gump because it stars a fairly normal guy who finds himself in very surreal situations, and has had so many adventures in his life. Except there’s way more vodka in The 100-Year-Old Man. Up because it’s about an old man who takes life into his own hands.
I highly recommend this one, guys!
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