The 100 Year Old Man

I loved the farcical nature of this book. Why shouldn’t a story stretch the realm of possibility, it is after all a work of fiction! Did I mention Sonya the elephant? One of the best things about this book was that the protagonist of the story is a centenarian. How often do we look at older generations and wonder what they were like when they were young? What did they do with their lives, who did they love? As we learn from Allan Karlsson, the 100-year-old man who climbed out of a window, how many amazing stories and experiences that old man can have who sits patiently by the window. How sad that we lock up the old people in our society in old people’s homes. A place to forget, and be forgotten.

 “Things are what they are, and whatever will be, will be.”

Jonas Jonasson, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

“People could behave how they liked, but Allan considered in general it was quite unnecessary to be grumpy if you had the chance not to.”

Jonas Jonasson, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

There is a beautifully simple philosophy to Allan Karlsson. He only got angry once in his life, when the fox finally killed his cat. With good reason he missed his cat. Allan didn’t seem to worry about careers, money or love (the last part thanks to a eugenics experiment) but a fulfilling life, enough to eat (and vodka to drink) and friendship always seemed to follow him on his adventures. The vodka part only lacking in his internment in a Russian Gulag, by orders of Stalin who’s naturally grumpy nature took an instant dislike to Allan’s unnaturally un-grumpy nature.

Sometimes when I look at old people I am envious of a life stretched out behind them. At my most exhausted moments I envy them a life already lived. At 100 years old Allan shows you just how many times your life can dramatically change. One moment you are living one life and quite unexpectedly you are living another. But that is what is exciting about this world, why we must hold on so firmly to our mortal coil, there is so much to experience, so many different lives to be lived. If you are tired, wait, you will see, something simple will happen and you will find yourself in a brand new horizon.

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