Friday, 28 March 2014

Book Review: The little old lady who broke all the rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Welcome back to my newest blog feature: Friday book reviews! (And yes, I am aware I need a snappier title than that - if you have any ideas, feel free to get in touch!). This week's book review is The little old lady who broke all the rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. 

Guys, just going to apologise right now for the length of this review/rant! Feel free to skip to the end if you want!

I downloaded this book on my Kindle when I was looking for something quick and light hearted to read – I'd heard some good things about it, plus it was discounted on the Amazon store, so I decided to give it a go.

Oh. My. God. I honestly don't know why there was so much hype around this book. I absolutely hate being mean about anyone/anything, but I really am struggling to think of any good points for this book....

The little old lady who broke all the rules is about a group of pensioners who live in a retirement home that is slowly but surely taking away everything they enjoy in life. Martha, the main character in this hapless group, convinces her friends to commit increasingly risky crimes, in an effort to get out of the retirement home and into prison, where they believe a better standard of life awaits. Needless to say, their crimes don't go quite to plan, and soon they're involved in all kinds of mischief and adventures...

I didn't find this book funny. At all. Now, generally I've got a pretty good sense of humour but the 'humour' in this book was just completely lost on me. As this book was been translated from Swedish, I'm seriously wondering if something got lost in translation. The jokes fell flat, characters that were supposed to be funny/cracking quips just came across as annoying or they didn't make any sense. I was almost cringing in some places as the author tried to make an ordinary situation funny, when it would've worked perfectly well without the humour.

Although Martha is the main character, the book does flip from time to time to different character's viewpoints e.g. the police chief, some random criminals that have very little to do with the story, the staff at the retirement home etc. But because of the way the book is written, I found it very hard to differentiate between who was who, especially if the chapters were about the different pensioners, as they essentially all had the same voice. Little bits of the character's background were dropped in every now and again but I was so disinterested in the story, I wasn't bothered about finding out any more about the characters, because they were so flat to begin with. While the author does try to make the characters stand out, she seems to have given them completely stereotypical qualities e.g. the hapless policeman that ignores everything that he's told because he's convinced he's right, the brainy one of the group that can magically turn off alarms and come up with ingenious solutions to problems, the 'hard' criminal that turns out to have a softer get my drift.

I'm going to have to stop writing now before this turns into even more of a giant, whiney rant. I was really disappointed in this book – the writing wasn't good and there were some seriously questionable editing going on – for example, in one scene Martha hugs and talks to her 'boyfriend'...but a few pages later we're told about how he's just been released from prison and Martha runs to greet him! Seriously, what?

Final comments: If you're looking for a book that you can just switch off and read, then by all means give this a go – but honestly, if you're looking for a bit of light hearted humour, go for The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared instead – now that's a fantastically funny book!

2 out of 5 cupcakes 
(but only because I'm giving some allowance for possible translation issues/people's sense of humour being different from mine)

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