APRIL READING: THE 100 YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED by Jonas Jonasson
So you wake up one day, on your 100th birthday no less, no family, all your friends passed on, stuck in some horrible and dull room in some horrible and dull nursing home with staff to match, waiting for some awful party to begin. Allan Karlsson, being rather sprightly for his age, as he has done so many times during his long life, makes a command decision, simply jumps out the window in his brown jacket, brown trousers and brown slippers, and runs away. Well, walks away as fast as his 100 year old legs can carry him.
What follows is just yet another adventure in the really quite incredible life of this Everyman for the twentieth century with a genius for bomb making and love of vodka. In fact vodka drives many of the decisions he has made in his extraordinary life, even now at 100!
What happens to him and how he lives out his remaining days is told alternately with how he has lived the previous 100 years. In a life even more ridiculous than Forrest Gump's, and way more interesting than William Boyd's Logan Mountstuart, Allan meets more leaders from the last century than you can poke a dead stick at. In no particular order Stalin, Kennedy, Franco, Truman, Johnson, Mao Tse Tung and his wife, de Gaulle, Brezhnev and others. As you would expect his travels take him all over the place too - Sweden, USA, USSR, Indonesia, Korea, France, China, Spain... How does all this happen - well, you will just have to read this book and find out. Gives new meaning to the song 'I've Been Everywhere Man'.
Even though his past life is completely nuts, his present life, ie what happens after he disappears from the rest home, is just as ridiculous. It is really quite marvellous how he manages to stay only a step or two from those searching for him, and if we could all live such a life at 100, what a great world it would be! The author must have had such enormous fun putting this story together and you have to wonder just where all this comes from!
This book is totally and completely and utterly mad, enormously entertaining, with a 20th century history lesson thrown in for good measure. If you want to find inspiration in how to live the rest of your life, you could get an idea or two from this insane account. If nothing else you will get a jolly good laugh, and that is no bad thing either, whether you are 100 or not. Keep up those yoga and pilates sessions so you too will have the strength to climb out that rest home window.