February’s book club selection was the book titled “The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson. Now I have to say that if not for this wonderful book club, this is a book that I would never have picked up on my own to read.
Here is a brief synopsis of the book…
A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over . . .
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 in 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 vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant).
It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life back story: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.
Now for questions asked by Shelly…
1. Forrest Gump is my favorite movie, which is why I think I related so well with this story. I especially liked Allen’s belief to not worry about things because ‘whatever happens, happens.’ What was your favorite ‘right place at the right time’ moment in this story (with Allen or any of the other characters)?
I would have to say that the end was really the best part for me. Knowing that Allan was able to live out the rest of his life surrounded by a wife, friends, and freedom to have a sip of the harder stuff (without a parasol) if he so chose. I think that is what we all want out of life is freedom to be who we are and who we want to be whether we are 21, 61, or 101!
2. Would you call Allen a role model? Why or why not?
Absolutely he is! He did not live life with maliciousness, he lived life with values and standards. He cared for his friends, stood by his word, and strived to maintain a positive attitude no matter what he was faced with.
3. Who is the oldest person you know? What did you learn from that person and did reading this book make you wish you could hear more about that person’s personal story?
I have to say that I think it was my grandma, who died several years ago, at the age of 95! This book actually reminded me of her quite a lot, as she was much like Allan in spirit. I loved talking to her about the things that she had seen through her 95 years and only wish I could hear her tell those stories over again!
Now for questions asked by Lisa…
1. What did you think about the historical fiction chapters?
I actually rather enjoyed them, even though I really don’t care much for history. With a history buff for a husband, I had heard of most of the events throughout the book, but it was really fun to see a spin added to them that could really almost be plausible!
2. What did you think about the cover-up story they told Prosecutor Ranelid & their “escape” afterwards?
I actually thought that it was quite funny, mostly because it was told with such sincere plausibility. You could almost see things unfold as they said. As for the escape, that was just wonderful and how they worked the elephant into the mix was just priceless.
3. Could you relate to Allan, climbing out his window on this 100th birthday? How do you want to spend your last years/days?
I could absolutely relate…because it is definitely something that I could have seen my grandma do (had she ever had to go into a nursing home) and it is for sure something that I would likely do as well!
I hope to spend my last years simply enjoying life in whatever context that may take…embarrassing my kids and grandkids…hee-hee-hee, enjoying a good book, or a glass of wine, and whatever else that might pop into my head!
Now for my thoughts…
As I stated previously, that if not for this wonderful online book club, I would never have read this book because it is not my normal interest. I have to say that I am so glad that I was able to read it, because it was a very enjoyable read. The book was full of humorous antics perpetrated by Allan and his band of merry misfits throughout their adventures. As well as the adventures that took place during Allan’s lifetime, that were very well placed throughout key points in the historical timeline of the last 100 years. I would say that I give it close to a 4 star rating, mostly because of the kind of character that Allan was. I have always had an affinity for feisty members of the older generations.
Have you had the opportunity to read this book? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts! If not, do you think that it is something you might perchance happen to read?
The March Page Turner’s book selection of “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio and stay tuned for that discussion to take place at the end of March!