Monday, May 7, 2018

The Deal of a Lifetime (A Novella) - Fredrik Backman

Image result for the deal of a lifetimeSummary:  It is Christmas Eve, and a father and son are meeting for the first time in years.  The father has a story he needs to share before it's too late.  As he tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away, he reveals even more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future.

Now, on this night before Christmas, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows.  But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what hsi own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal the answer.

With humor and compassion, Fredrik Backman's The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests on how we share that gift with those we love.  (Summary from book flap - Image from amazon.com)

My Review: It only took three sentences for The Deal of A Lifetime to grab my attention and place it in a headlock:

Hi.  It's your dad.  You'll be waking up soon, it's Christmas Eve morning in Helsingborg, and I've killed a person.   

Woah...what?  It went from cute to crazy in three sentences.  And two of them were short.

I will admit to being a little confused at first -- like a little kid in a movie that doesn't understand what's happening.  I wanted to poke a grown-up and ask what was going on... and that grown up would probably just tell me to watch the movie and I'd get my answers soon enough.  That is my advice to you.  Except, you know, with this book. If it doesn't make perfect sense at first, just keep reading. You're almost there. 

It's fascinating how some writers can take sixty-five pages to craft an exposition, while others can pack an entire story, and a good one, in the same amount of space.  Fredrik Backman's latest novella may be short on pages, but it doesn't lack for depth or emotion. His writing is simply phenomenal and his ability to bring out the best in highly unlikable characters is nothing short of uncanny.  In this particular novella, the narrator is easy to despise and yet he grew on me.  His interactions with several of the secondary characters, namely the little girl and the woman in the grey sweater (love her!) were some of my favorite moments in the novella.

Once I got my bearings in the story I did have a teensy inkling of where it might go (and it did head there) but it didn't end quite as I expected and I liked that.   It definitely got me thinking about my life, my priorities, and how I'd like to be remembered.  The Deal of A Lifetime is an evocative, bittersweet novella and I highly recommend it if you're looking to spend an hour with a memorable story.

My Rating: 4.25 Stars  (wish it were longer)

For the sensitive reader:  Three instances of mild profanity.  Used in rapid succession.  That's all I can remember.

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