Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Rating: 4 Wine Glasses

The title speaks for itself and pretty much sums up the premise for this book. Allan, the main character, decides on his 100th birthday to climb out the window and disappear without an exact destination in mind. When he gets to the bus station, a young man asks Allan to watch his suitcase while he uses the restroom. While the man is using the restroom, Allan’s bus comes and he decides to take the suitcase with him. This decision leads to a chain reaction of events and begins a surprising adventure starring many unusual characters.The book flips between current day and Allan’s past, leading up to the moment he decides to climb out his window.

This book is comparable to the movie Forest Gump in the sense that Allan stumbles upon an array of political figures over the course of his life (Truman, Mao, Stalin, and LBJ) and provides readers with a glimpse into some actual political and historical events that occurred in the last 100 years across the world. It actually made me want to research and read more about these events to find out how much was real versus made up. I am sure my high school history teacher would promote this book if he knew it sparked a new interest in historical world events.

My favorite part was Allan’s relationship with his cat, Molotov. I could just picture my father having the same reaction as Allan and doing something just as crazy. It was a bittersweet moment in the book – Allan having his first close companion and it being taken away from him.

This book made me sad at times and then at other times I found myself smiling. When you look at this book from the standpoint of how society views and treats the elderly like children, this book made me very sad. Once you get past that, you see that this book challenges our beliefs and even provides a sense of hope that when I turn 100 I could step out my window and start my own adventure. I loved Allan’s “things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be,” attitude throughout the book. Regardless of the highs and lows, I found a smile on my face when I closed this book that remained the rest of the day. 

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