Book Review: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Ever read a book that packs a punch? When you hear glowing reviews of an author's works, you have to at least give them a try. I constantly hear Fredrik Backman's name mentioned in conjunction with some of the "best books" that are out there, especially books that contain lots of emotion. I have picked up a couple of his books, but I decided to start with one of his shorter works. And if this book is any indication, I am going to thoroughly enjoy reading the works of Backman.
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer tells the story of Noah, a young boy who idolizes his grandfather. The two are sitting on a bench and Noah is confused as to where they are and what they are doing. His grandfather tells him they are in his brain, which is rapidly deteriorating due to dementia. As the two sit and reminisce about the grandfather's memories, we see the pain and fear that permeates through both characters: Noah for the loss of his grandfather, and the grandfather for the loss of his mind and memories. But Noah also has to grow up a bit, and by the end he is matured enough to see that he can help his grandfather through his fear and doubts, holding his hand and his memories as the grandfather's reality slowly slips away.
So the first thing you need to know: this book has 76 pages. That's it. And in those 76 pages, we see and feel EVERYTHING: love, sadness, heartbreak, joy, young, elderly, new, old....the list goes on and on. We feel how scared the grandfather is at the thought of losing himself and all that he holds dear; we feel the confidence that Noah gains by the end of the story to help his grandfather navigate his new reality. We see the tension between Noah's father and grandfather, who are two completely different people who have nothing in common, and how Noah is his grandfather made over. The treasured memories Noah and his grandfather share about space and math, their passion, are precious to see. The most beautiful and sad part of the story, though, is the grandfather's conversations with his deceased wife. His biggest fear is losing his memories with her, not remembering the love he felt for her. She tells him that she will never leave him, that the love they shared can withstand any test it faces. She reassures him that even if he loses everything else, he will never lose that. It is utterly heart-wrenching to read yet absolutely a beautiful concept. Backman has a way with that: making the sadness and heartache beautiful and moving all in the same page, same sentence.
This book is beautiful look at aging and what it means to lose the most precious things we have: our memories. Backman deftly pulls the reader into the story by their heart and does not let them go until the very last page. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Backman's works. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for short yet heartwarming read that will make you feel all of the emotions in one sitting.