Publishers Weekly Review
Lundberg's sometimes overly sweet debut centers on a 96-year-old Swedish woman passing down her life story by remembering the names in her address book. Doris may be old, but she doesn't want to be treated as such. However, when she ends up in the hospital after an accident, she must face her own mortality and desire for independence. Doris, who has lived a full and colorful life, wants to make sure her American granddaughter Jenny knows all about it before it's too late. So she sets about writing the story of her life, framed by the names in her address book. One by one she goes through the entries and describes her life at the time she was associated with each person-modeling in Paris, then experiencing the horrors of WWII before moving to Sweden and marrying. While the present-day narrative is often cluttered with overly sentimental dialogue and hampered by an underwhelming account of Jenny's travel woes as she tries to reach Doris, Doris's life story is magnetic, and it's her strong personality and pearls of wisdom ("Start cultivating your talents rather than going through life thinking you aren't not good enough. In the end, that's all that really matters. You're never any more than your soul") that drive the book. Both story lines become melodramatic during the neatly tied ending, but fans of Fredrik Backman will find much to like here. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
A lifetime of memories is contained within the worn leather covers of an address book, which was given to Doris by her father on her tenth birthday. Doris has kept the book all her life, but now, at 96 years old, living alone in Stockholm, she has crossed off most of the names it contains, as one by one her loved ones have died. Their stories, however, remain, and in a solitary existence punctuated only by visits from caretakers and Skype calls with her grandniece in faraway San Francisco, Doris begins to write down what she remembers. Her story stretches from working as a young maid in Stockholm through her years as a living mannequin at the center of 1930s Parisian fashion, and then adjusting to a new life in Manhattan. The relationships she forms along the way, from the tortured gay artist who becomes a lifelong friend to the charismatic young man whose love drives Doris to battle enormous odds in an attempt to find him during WWII, are beautifully brought to life in this sweetly elegiac novel.--Bridget Thoreson Copyright 2018 Booklist