This book is absolutely delightful. Its protagonist, the titular 100-year-old man, is a sweet, mild-mannered guy who hates politics and loves drinking and making explosives. An odd combination, but this book is a Forrest Gump-esque romp through history, and Allan Karlsson is distinctly created to affect history without ever being affected by the consequences. He gives atomic bomb advice to Americans, Russians, and Iranians. He spends years in jail, which is okay by him so long as he has a place to sleep and perhaps a bit of vodka. He is utterly unflappable, even as chaos reigns around him.
But that’s just his past. The book goes back and forth between his past unexpected adventures and fancy dinners with various famous politicians around the world and throughout history and his present circumstances: bored with life in an nursing home, he climbs out the window, spontaneously steals a suitcase full of money, and manages to outwit and escape a gang while making friends during his escape.
I mean, I am totally aware of how ridiculous that sounds. It’s meant to be ridiculous! But it’s got the same Forrest Gump appeal that asks us to set aside our reservations in favor of enjoying a sweet story of humorous historical connections.
At its heart, this books assures us that life is an adventure if only we will step out of our window and allow ourselves to get swept away. And that ability to live fully doesn’t stop just because your knees are weak and back is hunched. So like a 100-year-old man, let’s climb out of our windows and disappear!
After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his alcohol consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey.
It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, he has actually played a key role in them. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.
Release Date: September 2009
This is one of those books I feel like everyone should read as it’s so unique and I want to talk about it with them.
That being said I didn’t really enjoy it that much as I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. I should say though, I’m one of the few who doesn’t like Forrest Gump 🙂
I don’t like Forrest Gump either! But I DID like this book…I wonder what the difference is? Like you, I didn’t connect to the characters, but I think the silly excitement of “what could possibly happen next?” kept me entertained.
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I am glad I read it but it’s not a book I’d be rushing to read again.
This sounds very interesting. Thx for alerting us to it. 🙂
No problem! If you read it, let me know what you think.