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Kaffe med rån The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel meets The Italian Job in internationally bestselling author Catharina Ingelman Sundberg s witty and insightful comedy of errors about a group of delinquent seniors whose desire for a better quality of life leads them to rob and ransom priceless artworkMartha Andersson may be seventy nine years old and live in a retirement home, but that doesn t mean she s ready to stop enjoying life So when the new management of Diamond House starts cutting corners to save money, Martha and her four closest friends The Genius, The Rake, Christina and Anna Gretta aka The League of Pensioners won t stand for it Their solution White collar crime Almost dnf ed this sucker First at the 15% mark, then at the 50% when I resolutely stopped reading After a week or so I thought to give it another chance as I really wanted to know what happened and how it got solved.Anyway, so the blurb had me interested, geriatric crime At first it was all good, we meet the characters, we learn of their environment etc etc But then it just started to get sillier and sillier The writing was pretty basic and childish, the humor flat and banal Things might have been lost in translation though, but one can only have so much before it gets annoying.The silliness included the incompetence of the local police and the things the gang could get away with You really have to suspend a considerable amount of belief to enjoy the story There is also a lot of repetitiveness, personal traits are being mentioned over and over again, or how much one liked the other.And maybe the story wanted to focus on the mishaps in retirement homes, it completely missed the mark with the idiotic staff. I read about a third of this book when I decided I couldn t get interested in it enough to finish which is a pity because it looked like a really good story from what was written on the back cover I don t know whether something got lost in the translation It was just BORING Edit I don t feel it s justified to change the rating over a year after I read it, but looking at it in retrospect, I feel like I should have rated it two stars, rather than three considering my direct thoughts as well as the fact that I hardly remember the book now When I read the blurb, I was sure I wanted to read this book, so I bought it I was really excited to start reading it, thinking it would be absolutely hilarious, and to some extent it was Although I did truly enjoy the story, it did not live up to my expectations Or at least, so I thought while reading the middle part However, when I got towards the ending, the story started to become better again, and funnier What the funny thing is about this novel is that the story itself is not that hilarious, but little paragraphs are like conversations, or thoughts of the elderly people What must be kept in mind, is that I read this book in translation I do not read Swedish, which is the original language it was written in It is also set in Sweden, and this means there are some elements which readers from other countries may not understand At some instances, the translator explains these things, and sometimes he omits this which I think is done accurately because one can interpret What bothered me while reading it was the fact that even though the average vocabulary in this novel is quite easy, sometimes a random word in a sentence would be of high register The problem with reading a translation is that you do not know whether this is really a footprint of the translator, or maybe the author herself also did this perhaps to show how elderly people tend to use outdated words After I finished it, for a little while I thought of giving it 4 5 stars, but I decided that would not be fair, because the middle part really was boring at some times, or at least not quite as entertaining as I had hoped it would be 3 5 stars would be underrating it, hence my decision to rate it 3.5 stars I would recommend this to people who want to have an easy and funny read Enjoy. I heard of this book from a friend, who posted a very negative review of it on her blog Given my masochistic approach to books and the fact that the plot sounded like it could be really fun, I figured I should give it a try, that it might be fun even if it wasn t good.No such luck.First of all it s badly written The author has absolutely no idea how to use paragraphs, and they can go on for pages with different actions and thoughts being mixed up in a way that just doesn t flow very well when you read it Knowledge is usually imparted through dialogue, which is usually not a good idea unless maybe you re Dan Brown And then there s the part where she tends to overinform us, the readers, of the plot, and repeat stuff that happened just a few pages earlier It gets tiresome to get treated like you re an idiot by the author.Secondly, while I don t mind a few improbable events in books, most of the plot in this one relies on everyone carrying around an idiot ball and letting the main characters get away with too much shit Someone overlooking an incident once or twice and having that work out well for your characters is one thing, but when the entire plot hinges on the police not being able to do their job even when evidence is right in front of them Then it s just annoying.Thirdly, all of the characters are brutal stereotypes and that s just annoying as well.Very disappointed in this book, even if the premise was kinda fun It just took everything too far for me to enjoy it. Growing Old Disgracefully and In StyleThe Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is a fun read by Swedish author Catherina Ingelman Sundberg who shows us that just as we may get old we do not have to sit in God s waiting room awaiting our turn for the inevitable final journey It is easy to see why this book is an international bestseller as it is humorous different and quite a warm hearted story where you actually want the criminals to succeed Martha Andersson is a woman who walks with the aid of a zimmer frame and is a resident along with her four friends of Diamond House a residential home for the elderly or as she sees it somewhere that she is waiting to die Martha and friends are being drugged up and locked up but she has no intention of letting that remain the position for her and her friends She and her male friend Brains after watching a programme on prisons come up with a plan to become residents of a prison as they seem to have a better life there than at Diamond House.This is when they decide to rebel against the regime of their retirement home as the plastic food no exercise and being drugged up all the friends decide they have had enough It is time for them to commit a crime that will lend them a prison sentence and therefore better conditions while at the same time highlighting the plight of the elderly ensconced in retirement homes across Sweden, the silent majority.As five old people embark on their plan of criminality with the aid of their zimmer frames and walking sticks we find that not everything goes to plan Once they have committed their felony they find they have quite a taste for this and hatch upon another plan as they enjoy the excitement They want to commit the perfect crime where nobody gets hurt but at the same time they are able to make some money and escape Sweden Will they get away with their audacious plan The only way to find out is to read this wonderful humorous book Is it a crime thriller yes of sorts, is it funny, yes, does it question our treatment of our elders yes If we do not look after them then they may just decide to grow old disgracefully and I for one am with them The title of this book appealed to me as I m rapidly heading towards being a little old lady myself Five friends in a retirement home in Sweden realise they are not being treated as well as they would be if they were in prison and they resolve to change the situation They find a gym in their home which is out of bounds to residents for some reason and they work hard at getting fit before they escape and go on a crime spree.So far, so good and it is an entertaining read and it seems to have survived the translation process pretty well I liked the characters of the friends and I sympathised with their boredom and their sense of injustice I also liked the police inspector who was faced with trying to investigate their crimes and who spent his time tearing his hair out because nothing made sense to him Elderly fugitives from retirement homes just do not commit crimes There was something which did not quite gel with this book but I can t put my finger on what exactly it is I enjoyed it but found it a little long winded There is plenty of humour, marvellous characters and situations but You may love it but I was left feeling a bit disappointed. This sounded like a good premise for a novel a bunch of pensioners who run away from their depressing old age home to lead a life of crime And it is humorous but in a warmly, amusing way than laugh out loud humour There are some really funny moments and the author s thoughts on how older people with little to lose might approach crime was often humorous However, I think the novel was longer than it needed to be and the plot could have benefited by being sharper with a lot less waffle between the pensioners exploits It s possible that something was lost in translation and there were a few jokes particularly around music that you would need to be Swedish to appreciate. A great premise a group of older people in an assisted living facility become frustrated with their living conditions and embark on various activities to emancipate themselves Sadly, the writing is unable to live up to the premise, though I read a translated version, which could have contributed to the confusion Much like hanging out in a residential facility, I found myself dozing off without warning.The first paragraph from chapter one The next day, while the guests, or the clients, as they were now called, at Diamond House were drinking their morning coffee in the lounge Martha thought about what she should do In her childhood home in sterlen, down in the south off Sweden, people didn t just sit and wait for somebody else to take action If the hay must be put in the barn, or a mare was going to foal, then you simply pitched in and did what was necessary Martha looked at her hands She was proud of them they were reliable hands, and showed that she had done her fair share of hard work The murmur of voices rose and fell all around her as she surveyed the rather shabby lounge The smell was decidedly reminiscent of the Salvation Army and the furniture seemed to have come straight from the recycling depot The old gray 1940s building, with its asbestos fiber cement cladding, was like a combination of an old school and a dentist s waiting room Surely this wasn t where she was meant to end her days, with a mug of weak instant coffee to go with a plastic meal No, damn it, it certainly was not Martha breathed deeply, pushed her coffee mug aside and leaned forward to speak to her group of friends If you are still awake and appreciated the exact description of Martha s moment of reflection and the building she is in, you should read on This is the book for you If you think that you would like a little less description and a little action, then you may want to skip ahead to page 69 when the League of Pensioners put their first crime into action As they are the most incompetent thieves ever, I got stuck trying to understand which parts were supposed to be ironic and or funny Or was this genuine, and elderly Swedish people are incapable of simple logic, and the surrounding normal aged people incapable of recognizing subterfuge And confusion, I confess, continued, because Sweden is pretty close to socially perfect, so why are they being so awful to their old people The administrators lock the clients up at night, and then mild spoiler the staff decides to mildly drug them to keep them compliant What I felt like this must be set in the 1960s surely Swedes don t run around drugging people Is this the secret to a compliant society We haven t been allowed to do that in America for years and years, despite millions of oxycodone prescriptions I truly don t understand was I supposed to laugh that their robbery plans were so incompetent as to not include the lights going out Or that Nurse Katia isn t concerned there s no notes regarding the absence of five residents This seems so strange to me.There s some sort of sub plot about the awful administrator at the facility having an affair with one of the staff, and the declining conditions at the facility Maybe the hook is that the book is hyper realistic in description and scenarios with the exception of the elderly shenanigans But the writing ended up killing it It feels like a basic reading level in vocabulary and thought process, as the above paragraph shows A third person point of view often means that it is just narrated from different perspectives, not that much insight is offered First this happens, then that happens, and then that Pacing is terribly slow, with paragraphs of description of both setting and Martha s crew making plot points even further apart I ended up with a terminal loss of interest around page 95 In fact, I m falling asleep writing this Not recommended for listening while driving. If anyone s looking for an inconsequential, light hearted, good natured, warm fuzzy book that has the power to make you titter out loud then I heartily recommend this yarn I loved every syllable 5 stars doesn t come near to its true worth in my opinion.


About the Author: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Catharina Ingelman Sundbergs b cker har s lt i ver 400 000 exemplar 1999 bel nades hon med Widdingpriset som rets f rfattare av historiska romaner och popul rhistoria i Sverige Hennes b cker r hittills s lda till 14 l nder.Catharina gnade femton r av sitt liv att som arkeolog s ka efter v r historia p havets botten runt om i v rlden Denna tid har hon skildrat i boken Bland hajar, karlar o


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