Book Review: The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Jonas Jonasson

I picked this book up because I was intrigued by the title and wanted some fiction to read for a change.  I wasn’t expecting to find it to have such a powerful life-affirming message.

Allan Karlsson has made up his mind, he does not want to attend the 100th birthday party organised for him at his nursing home. He escapes out of the window and shuffles off as fast as his slippered feet will carry him.

The story then splits into two.  The first strand is an often hilarious account of the road trip that follows, a trip that involves a suitcase of money, the boss of a criminal gang, a hot dog seller, a petty thief, a police inspector, an elephant, a dog and 2 dead bodies.  This motley crew lurch from one amusing adventure to the next.

The second strand recounts Allan’s life through some of the major events of the 20th Century which include meetings with Harry Truman, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Charles De Gaulle and Albert Einstein’s less intelligent younger brother.  Throughout his adventures Allan has always come out on top because of his simple philosophy of asking how he can be of service.

The book is hilariously funny in places – a sort of Forrest Gump meets the Italian Job!

And the moral of the story  – never give up, always be ready for the next adventure and always ask how you can help.

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