- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books; Original edition (September 11, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401324649
- ISBN-13: 978-1401324643
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4,108 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Paperback – September 11, 2012
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Top customer reviews
"The 100 Year Old Man..." Begins when Allan Karlsson climbs out the window of his nursing home to avoid the pleasantries of his upcoming 100th birthday party. Not having any real plan, he walks across town, ending up at the bus station, where he then decides to go as far by bus as the money in his pocket will take him---
What follows could be considered a spoiler, and I would normally agree, but really, to understand what you're avoiding, it is necessary...
...that bus will arrive in three minutes, so Allan takes a seat to wait for it, and in comes an angry young man with a suitcase too large to fit in the toilet with him; so he practically orders Allan to watch it. Sadly, for the young man, Allan's bus arrives before the young man is out of the toilet, so Allan decides to take the suitcase as it may have clothes he could use, given all he has is what he is wearing. As it turns out, the suitcase is stuffed with Swedish money, fifty million crowns to be exact... As the reader might well imagine, the now even angrier young man eventually comes after him, finds him (with a new acquaintance Allan's just made) and after this and that, the young man turns up dead, leaving Allan and his new buddy with a corpse and fifty million crowns.
That is pretty much it, for the rest of the book, like the essential melody of Ravel's Bolero, once you've heard it, you've heard the entire piece, it doesn't really change much it just gets louder. Well, that book anyway, which if left alone would have amounted to a book about 1/2" thick. The Author apparently thought this insufficient, so he goes back to the VERY beginning and tells us all about Allan, from his start to where the book starts, and the two stories intertwine---the dates at the chapter head will help you figure out where each is starting off. Suffice to say, Allan becomes an apolitical/irreligious explosives expert, who follows his friend to 1930's Spain, to fight in the Spanish Civil War on the side of the Republic and he manages to blow up a bridge that would have killed El Generalissimo Franco, but for the fact he ends up in front of his car, which crosses before it explodes, and Allan is able to convince Franco he was actually a spy on the Fascist side, which is why he warned Franco... Like I said, once you've heard the essential tune of Bolero...
Having read a lot of non-fiction (where the writing doesn't generally get interesting or engaging until you're at least half way through) I made it up to the Korean War before I began thumbing through the pages to try to keep up with the centenarian part of the plot, which also seemed to have lost speed and the author's interest or imagination. Again, this is not non-fiction. You have no pressing need to read this, which is why I urge you to watch the second movie based on the general idea, then, if you like that you can watch the movie based on this book and if you're still interested, then perhaps you might buy and read the book, but I wouldn't recommend doing so with any enthusiasm.
This book reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. In both books, the main character (both men) had a series of unfortunate circumstances that turned out to be beneficial to them in the end. The difference: Allan (100-year-old man) was extremely intelligent and Forrest (Forrest Gump) was intellectually challenged. At times, both books were tedious.
Honestly, I find these half-baked comparisons to Forrest Gump insulting. Gump is an imbecile motivated by love for a handful of people. The amusing thing of him meeting famous people is he doesn't know who they are. His compassion, a couple of unusual skills and a lot of dumb luck see him through but can't save him from the pain around him.
Allan on the other hand doesn't have much compassion; he just knows who he likes and what he's good at. He meets famous people because of his skills. He doesn't care who they are though because he has no respect for politics or religious movements. They are basic differences that give Allan a happy ending.