The protagonist is a WW2 vet who lives in a small village in Finland. After his wife had to be taken to a nursing home because of her worsening Alzheimer's, our brave protagonist decided to have a meaning to his life: writing letters to the editor! Each chapter is a little letter to an editor of whichever magazine or newspaper strikes his fancy, and each begins with "I got so upset the other day, when..." Reasons to get upset range from discovering a sun beam in his living room to breaking his hip when he falls down the stairs (and on the second day of lying on the steps wonders if it's time to yell for help). He thinks that Valentine's Day should be replaced by "Mind your own business" day--and this he tells the world happily. After all, his friend had advised him that it's no use bottling feelings up, so he has decided to go ahead and complain. Sometimes personal details slip into his complaints, mainly about his relationship with his very modern son. Should he just face it that he's an old git who just doesn't get it?
I laughed out loud multiple times reading this, because Kyrö's usage of language is often simply delicious. He really has hopped into the boots of an old, groggy and angry man who thinks that the newer generations know nothing about music, food, movies or how to dress up. Just some of the words he uses made me giggle. And lest the book would get too formulaic, Kyrö sometimes slips in sentiments that I found myself agreeing with. Uh oh, am I getting old now, too, or are this old man's demands not so crazy after all? At the end, the protagonist turns out to be much more sympathetic than you'd think, and the reader finds that there always is a reason for people behaving the way they do. The reasons are not always necessarily great, widely-approved of reasons, but they are reasons nevertheless.
Language professional by day; knitter and crocheter by night. The rest of the time on buses and waiting rooms in Seattle is spent reading, hopefully with a good beverage nearby.
I often skip synopses in this blog and instead focus on the elements that got me hooked on a story or turned me away from it. My reading habits have only two absolutes, and I'm doing my best to make them more negotiable: I love unreliable narrators; cannot stand British school stories.
Comments and recommendations are encouraged to knock me out of my reading comfort zones.
If you don't like to leave a comment in this public blog, feel free to send recommendations to matildareadsblog at gmail dot com