The Red Address Book

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

What a beautiful story of an older woman living for skype to talk to her only living relative, her great niece. 
This story was pieced together well and held an unusual type of storytelling. It was completely character driven - all names from her Red Address Book she received as a child. 
Besides the story having that 'charming' feel, it also speaks a lot to the aging process and the loneliness the accompanies it.

A tender, emotional and often sad book about the people you meet in your life and how they each have touched you.
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Thank you Ms. Lindbergh for writing this book.

It is sweet, endearing, sad and heartwarming all at the same time.  I loved how the story progressed by sharing stories of those in Doris’ address book.

This story will stay with me for a while and I’ll enjoy staying in its embrace.
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Memories of a life lived and the people who shared it.  The red address book has entries of all the people that have been a part of Doris' long life, many of which have long since died.  Doris, a 96-year-old, writes the stories of these people as a way of sharing her life with her niece who lives an ocean away.  This a lovely, yet sad book. Definitely worth a read.
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A beautiful story of a life well lived and beautiful story that is passed along.  I look forward to more from this author.
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The elderly Doris is nearing the end of her life in her native Stockholm, Sweden. Her only close relative is her great-niece, Jenny who is a busy young mother in San Francisco, California. Increasingly frail, Doris has a carer who visits daily to help her with dressing and meals. Doris is very lonely and the highlight of her life is when she uses her laptop computer to Skype with Jenny once a week. 

Doris has an old leather address book which she has had since she was a child. Now, at her advanced age, most of the people in it are deceased. She has so many memories. Memories that she does not want to disappear when she is dead. So… she writes them down for Jenny.

“I’ll give you my memories. They’re the most beautiful thing I have.”

Doris’s life has been very eventful. At the age of thirteen her father died tragically and she was sent to work as a maid for a wealthy woman. Before she left her childhood home her mother said:

“I wish you enough. Enough sun to light up your days, enough rain that you appreciate the sun. Enough joy to strengthen your soul, enough pain that you can appreciate life’s small moments of happiness. Enough friends that you can manage a farewell now and then.”

She has lived in Stockholm, Paris, Cornwall, and New York. She has lived through many events that have shaped her world, and many traumas that might have felled a lesser person. Doris had one great love – but that was very short lived.

“Being separated from a person you hold dear always feels like a wound to the soul.”


Doris was a grand old lady. A person I would love to have met in person. What more praise can you give a fictional character? I felt privileged to share her reflections on a life lived to the fullest.

Jenny’s character was also well rendered. She was extremely fond of her great-aunt Doris (whom she calls Dossi) and is torn between wanted to be in Stockholm and tending to her husband and three children in San Francisco.

Doris’s love, Allan Smith, and her best friend, the artist Gosta, added to the interest of her life story. The flow between time periods depicted was flawless and easy to discern.

A grand debut literary novel, “The Red Address Book” explores the themes of adversity, hardship, friendship, and love. It reminds us that everyone should have the right to living and dying with dignity. And also, it makes us realize the great treasure of memories held by elderly people should be passed down to future generations in order that they might benefit from the lessons learned through a life rife with experience.

A beautiful and heartbreaking story. Nostalgic, sentimental, yet all too believable, this debut novel is highly recommended to all lovers of thoughtful, well-written literary fiction and/or lovers of old ladies.
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My own family replaces address books every few years, but I can recall friends families who kept theirs forever and I am sure the books could tell amazing tales! Nice way to recall family and friends. I did enjoy this story. I like the idea of generations staying in touch and learning from each other. You never know whose life you'll have an impact on. Nice summer read!
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A very sweet book. An old woman looks back at her life via an address book. I didn't love the parts about her health issues and some of the minutiae with the grandchildren. It dragged down what was otherwise a light and engaging book.
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I absolutely loved The Red Address Book. Doris is an elderly woman who has lived many lives in her 90-plus years. Her great-niece Jenny sees her as the mother she needed when hers could not take care of her properly. Doris fell in love with Allan, who up and left her after a few months with no explanation. Again and again they come back to each other in different countries, married or single, until Allan goes to war and Doris loses track of him. The Red Address Book shifts back and forth between Doris' past and her present, where she is aging and not doing well health-wise. When she falls and hurts herself and then has a heart attack, Jenny flies from America to Sweden to be with the woman who raised her and helped make her who she is. Along the way, she learns about Doris' lost love and all the adventures--good and bad--she had in her lifetime. This book tugged at my heart, made me hopeful, and reminded me why humans value love so much.
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This book tugged at my heartstrings. My grandmother had an address book just like this one and my goodness the stories it could tell. My grandma is long gone now and I miss her terribly so this story made me feel a bit closer to her. Reading Doris' stories felt a bit like sitting down with my own grandmother and listening to her life's stories. Beautiful book.
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This book touches your heart similar to what can be felt upon reading a man called ove. So I compare the two. It is one of those books that you don't want to end and when it does end; you have a bit of a book hangover where you have to take a break from starting anything new because you just want the allow the characters to live with you a little longer before delving into a new world.
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A poignant retelling of a life through the pages of a long-held address book. Incredibly sad, always moving, as 96-year-old Doris recounts her life to her grandniece. From a poverty-stricken childhood, a modeling career in Paris, life in America, and now alone in Sweden, with the names of so many cherished people she’s outlived crossed out in her book. 4/5

Pub Date 08 Jan 2019.

Thanks to the author, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. 

#TheRedAddressBook #NetGalley
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Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt And Netgalley for this ARC. 

I was immersed in this delightful book from the very beginning.  It was at times uplifting, others  sad, always engaging.

Highly recommended.
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I found the concept of this novel to be very intriguing and really looked forward to reading it.  However, I found the storytelling to be a little disjointed and the storyline was so sad.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader’s copy of this book.
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I began reading this but simply could not get into it so will not be writing a review. I apologize but not all books appeal to everyone. Thank you.
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Thanks Netgalley for the ARC of this book. I really enjoyed this one and I bawled my eyes out last night when I read the ending. This books makes one think about things like missed opportunities and the true meaning of love.
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When I saw this book and read the synopsis, I thought it could be a great story. When I read that it talked about Paris I simply couldn’t resist. I have to say that I had just read a book about a similar topic, but I really wanted to read The Red Address Book so I just crossed my fingers and hoped that it would be different and unique, and it was.
This is a compelling and gripping story about a young woman who has gone through so much and now waits for her future to come. She has lost many things and she talks about all the important people in her life, how they changed it and how her life was in different stages.
There were some parts that were not easy to read, and there were some parts that were extremely emotional and made my heart ache, but I can say that it is a beautiful story. I liked Doris, she was a strong woman, and she was admirable and determined. Jenny was a nice character as well, and I really liked Gösta too. It was enjoyable reading about Paris and New York and also a little bit about Sweden.
The final part was very intense and I had a huge knot in my throat, but it was beautifully written and it was absolutely touching. Overall, I enjoyed the story, it was amazing and I would definitely like to read more books by Sofia.
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Doris is old--96 years old and living alone in an apartment in Stockholm. Her red address book is a cherished reminder of the life she has lived, vivid and detailed through times and experiences that few can imagine, veering from young, beautiful, and dazzling in Paris to struggles in America and Europe later on.  Most of her beloveds have died or been lost to her, but not her grand-niece Jenny who lives in the United States who is devoted to her loving Dossi who raised her, made possible her own wonderful life.  Through memories and present day struggles, Lundberg tells a gripping story about love, loss, and living the best that one can do.  Her language, her characters are exceptionally well-wrought, complex and entrancing.  I admit to more than a minor crush on several of her closest friends and lovers.
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Historical Fiction
How do we want to be remembered? Even close friends of many years are often surprised to learn our stories of growing up, of jobs had and lost, of paths taken and ignored. Doris is 96 years old; she has outlived all her friends and nearly all her family, and her days are spent in pain. The bright note in her life is a weekly Skype call to Jenny, her only living relative who is in America. Thumbing through her beloved red address book, given to her as a child by her father, Doris sees so many names crossed out, and remembers their stories and hers. She decides to write these stories down for Jenny, from her childhood in Sweden, modelling in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, falling in love, escaping to New York City with her sister when Hitler invaded France, and eventually returning to Stockholm where she now lives.
This novel was originally published in Swedish in 2015, and is deftly translated by Alice Menzies. It’s written in two voices – in Doris’ voice as she recalls her life stories, and in third person for the present day, when Doris’ grasp on life is weakening. This device allows the reader to easily keep track of the dual storylines, and provides deep insight into Doris’ life, one of love and longing. She also emerges as a fiercely independent and determined woman of passion, sentiment, and devotion. And even as she nears the end of her life, there are a couple of surprises in store for her. This is an honest and affecting portrayal of a woman’s life, with all its ups and downs; in effect, her life path is set when her mother sends her off with these words: “I wish you enough. Enough sun to light up your days, enough rain that you appreciate the sun. Enough joy to strengthen your soul, enough pain that you can appreciate life’s small moments of happiness. And enough friends that you can manage a farewell now and then.” Indeed. A good choice for fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and A Man Called Ove. My thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the advance reading copy provided digitally through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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This was a somewhat sad but very interesting book which is the reviewing of an old address book by a lonely, elderly woman.  Doris, the narrator, is 96 years old and not in the best of health.  She lives alone, in Stockholm,  and has only the company of her daily caregivers, who swoop in and out of her apartment after attending to their duties, such as feeding, bathing and light housekeeping.  She also Skypes with Jenny, her American grand-niece, who dearly loves her aunt.  One day Doris suffers a fall and is hospitalized in very serious condition.  Jenny and her youngest daughter fly from San Francisco to Stockholm to be with Doris.  The story of Doris' life is spelled out beautifully in chapters titled with the names of all the individuals in Doris' red address book.  The stories are all written by Doris, in her lonely moments, in an attempt to make certain Jenny knows as much as possible about her family history and Doris' life in particular.  A fascinating read.  Strongly recommend.
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Imagine having an address book that sums up your life.  For 96 year old Doris living in Stockholm, Sweden that's what we find in this novel.  In deciding to give her grand-niece, Jenny, a family history she turns to that book, an address book that was given to her by her father so many years ago.  With each entry, now crossed out, with many people, family members and friends now passed on, the memories come flooding back and so her life's history that are between those pages (in alphabetical order) is now a memoir for her grand-niece.

This book evoked so many of my own memories while I was reading it.  It gave me a sense of nostalgia, but more than that the book found a way into my heart.  A beautiful story, beautifully told and one I will read again.  If I were to sum it up I would describe it as:  sweet, sentimental and oft times sad.

My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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