This book review was written by Eugene Kernes
“The driver said jovially that he was used to people who knew where they wanted to go but not what it would cost, but this was quite the opposite.” – Jonas Jonasson, Chapter Two, Page 13
“Allan liked his own company and that was good, because he loved an isolated life. Since he didn’t join the ranks of the labor movement he was despised by socialists, while he was far too working class (not to mention related to his father) to be allowed a place in any bourgeois fathering.” – Jonas Jonasson, Chapter Four, Page 34
“The local newspaper lost no time in posting the news about the old man who had disappeared in thin air on his hundredth birthday. As the newspaper’s reporter was starved for real news from the district, she managed to imply that you could not exclude the possibility of kidnapping.” – Jonas Jonasson, Chapter Five, Page 37
Just before Allan Karlsson’s 100th birthday party, Allan decides to break free. Allan jumps out of the window, and without knowing where, goes somewhere. Given Allan’s age, Allan takes certain liberties such as stealing a suitcase from a disrespectful person. The problem is that the suitcase belongs to a gang, who are now trying to catch Allan. That is the beginning of an adventure for Allan in which Allan meets a master thief Julius, almost brilliant mind on everything Benny, and Gunilla who goes nowhere without a dog and an elephant. The centenarian’s disappearance became a news sensation, especially when there are rumors of kidnapping, and a warrant out for Allan and friends for more than one murder. Along the way is a history lesson on the extensive life of Allan, with many trips around the world. Allan is someone who disdains political discussions, but meets many very political individuals and influences world politics. Although Allan travelled around the world, Allan did not necessarily get to see a lot of the world, as a lot of time was spent in various prisons. This is a humorous story which requires rethinking the capacity of age and political possibilities.
There is a frequent shift between contemporary events and history. The backstory of Allan provides a lot more depth to the character, but can distract from the events. A timeline for Allan’s events is provided. The book has a lot of humor, but understanding the humor dependents on the reader values.
Questions to Consider while Reading the Book
•What is the raison d’etre of the book? For what purpose did the author write the book? Why do people read this book?
•What are some limitations of the book?
•Why does Allan Karlsson want to run away before Allan’s 100th birthday?
•Why do you think the author chose to make the main character 100 years old?
•Where does Allan want to go after escaping the 100th birthday party?
•What is Allan’s area of expertise?
•What is Julius Jonsson area of expertise?
•What is Benny Ljungberg area of expertise?
•What is Gunilla Björklund area of expertise?
•How does Allan, and friends, get into trouble with Never Again? How do they resolve the conflict?
•Are Allan, and friends, innocent or guilty of the legal charges?
•How does Allan shape world history?
•Why are people either averse to politics, or cannot think of anything but politics?
•Capitalism or socialism? Where does Allan fit in?
•How does Allan think about the various events?
•How does Allan's experience of world events compare to the actual historical events?
•How does Allan navigate the political world?
•Why does Allan get into the various prisons around the world? How does Allan get out of the prisons?
•Who does Allan meet around the world?
Publisher: Hyperion [Hachette Book Group]
Edition ISBN: 9781401304393
Pages to read: 305
1st Edition: 2012
Ratings out of 5: