Book title: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
rating: 2/5 stars
WARNING: not spoiler free!
I finished this book earlier this week, and figured it was about time I did an actual book review! Well, sort of, at least.
I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I first sat down with this book. I`d read an interview with the author before I started, which led me to the book in the first place. I did notice the book`s popularity, and that combined with the interview and the great promise of adventure and Forrest Gump-like situations made me excited to start reading this book.
Maybe I was a bit too positive and excited.
Quite soon after I started, I began to realise this book was completely different from what I expected. I`m not saying that`s always a bad thing, I often don`t mind the surprise. Most books are different from what I imagine, that`s why it`s called “imagine”. With this book though, I never started liking it.
Aside from it simply not being my type of book and not my kind of humour, there was something that really bugged me about this book and its characters.
A specific example of this is the reaction of the characters whenever someone dies. Almost every single time, most of the characters will effectively just shrug and move on immediately. None of them freaks out, none of them is traumatised in the slightest, none of them has any shred of guilt. Mostly they just wonder how they`ll keep this away from the police. Even characters that have known each other for years and were in gangs together, when one of them dies they just move on, in a “oh well, life happens” kind of way.
This extends to other situations too. Get caught in a Russian prisoner camp? Oh well, life`s life. Find out there`s an elephant here? Oh well, just another poor soul.
There`s being a simple, non-demanding type of person; and then there`s being wholly unrealistic and weird.
Don`t get me wrong, I fully realise this book is not meant as realistic. But if you`re creating characters, would it really hurt to make them a bit less flat?
Because that`s what it boiled down to, to me: the characters were too flat, the situations too incredible. If you write a story properly, you can have a comedic book that does have well thought-out characters. Situations can be written in such a way you`ll believe in them, even if they`re absolutely ridiculous. So the fact I just kind of frowned for the entirety of the book is quite telling to me.
All in all, I guess this book just wasn`t meant for me.
(Currently reading: The House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz.)