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Book Review: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg's ‘The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules’ (Translated by Rod Bradbury)


Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg’s brightly coloured cover caught my eye as I passed the bookshelves recently. The comical picture at the bottom, an old lady walking with her Zimmer frame reflects, ‘The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules’, perfectly. The story is witty, charming and subversive.

When reading the blurb I thought how refreshing it was to see someone writing about the funny side of growing old disgracefully. I could get a sense of how comical the main character Martha Andersson would be and couldn’t wait to purchase the book and begin reading it.
I must admit the pace of the novel is sluggish to begin with and is a little disappointing. However, stick with it because Martha Andersson, the ‘Little Old Lady’, soon takes charge of the care home she lives in, leading the other residents astray and the pace is kicked up a gear through Ingelman-Sundberg’s carefully written tale. Martha and four other residents soon take to the streets, armed with Zimmer frames, in the hope of robbing the safe of a luxury hotel before setting their sights on a Monet. The way elderly people are often portrayed as losing their faculties once they go into an elderly people’s home was refreshingly turned on its head in this book and twists our perception of what it is to be old.
This book is the perfect read for anybody who enjoyed Jonas Jonasson’s, ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’ as the slapstick style is events heap on top of each other throughout, getting crazier and funnier as the story progresses.
If you want an amusing read this summer then head on over to your local bookshop or go online and order, ‘The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules’.

*Fans of the novel should check out Ingelman-Sundberg’s follow-up, ‘The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!’ as her humour continues to be delightfully satisfying.

review by Sue Cawte

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