Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules - Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg - Guest Book Review

Translated from the Swedish by Rod Bradbury
Published by Pan Macmillan

Guest book review by Tracy Terry

At last an 'international best seller' that I've actually enjoyed. 

A story about a pensioner (and her friends), The League Of Pensioners, behaving badly. Whilst I can understand comparisons being made between this novel and The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson I'm personally loathe to do so except to say that in my opinion this is a far superior read.

Far-fetched? Without a doubt and yet unlike the afore mentioned One hundred Year Old Man the author never strays into the absurd. But more than anything else The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules is a wonderfully quirky alternative crime novel that takes many of the stereotypes about elderly people and turns them upside down.

A more or less constantly funny novel (I did think certain bits fell slightly flat) full of memorable characters that I readily took to heart. Whilst written by a Swedish author (The English translation is extremely well done by Rod Bradbury) the almost farcical nature of some of the scrapes Martha and her fellow conspirators (also known as the League of Pensioners) found themselves in put me in mind of one of those old Ealing Comedies.

And yet very much up to date. The social commentary on topics such as the potential vulnerability of the elderly in residential institutes more concerned with their profit margins is exemplary.

Many thanks to Tracy for reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library! Tracy blogs at Pen and Paper - do pay a visit there and read her brilliant book blog!


  1. Hi Tracy - neat to see you over here.

    I like novels that break stereotypes. We so rarely read such things that are different about older folks.

    This fact as well as the humor make this one sound very good.

  2. This one appeals to me both because of the title and the fact that it's so unique. I'm glad to hear the translation is well done. I've been burned recently with a translated book so I'm a bit timid now. I'll have to look for this one!

  3. brings to mind the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which I loved.

  4. Wonderful review, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules sounds well written. Good to hear that it breaks those stereotypes.

  5. I thought this book was great! Now passed it on to my mid-70s neighbour, for her opinion.


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