The Red Address Book

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

A sad story of lost love and missed opportunities told through the names in an old woman,Doris's,address book as she lies ill in hospital,communicating with Jenny,her niece ,through Skype.
It tells the story of her eventful life through a series of flashbacks and reminds us that many older people have had very interesting lives and should not be seen as they are in the present day.
It's a moving story and worth reading but maybe not if you're feeling sad.
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96 year old Doris was a frail woman living alone in her Stockholm apartment. She had a series of daily caregivers and was able to live alone. She had no other relatives than Jenny, her great niece who lived in San Francisco. She and Jenny Skyped often.

Then Doris fell and ended up in a hospital in Stockholm. Jenny continued to Skype with her great aunt but soon realized that Doris was dying. So Jenny took her 2 year old daughter, left her husband and sons and flew to be with Doris for her final days. 

Doris had a favorite address book that was give to her by her beloved father. Most of the entries in the book were followed by the words Dead. Doris decides that she wanted to write a memoir so that Jenny and her family would learn something about the older woman’s life. Doris began with her father’s death and how her mother forced her to work as maid to a wealthy socialite. Doris was taken to Paris where she eventually worked as a living mannequin who modeled clothes for wealthy women in fancy stores.She became a model for Chanel and other designers. It was in Paris that Doris met Allen, an American who became her the love of her life.

The memoir followed Doris when she and her sister traveled to New York in response to a letter Allen had written a year before. By the time the women arrived in the city, they were told that Allen had married and could not meet Doris. Her sister eventually married a man who took the the girls in so they could help his Swedish mother. 

World War II was raging in Europe but Doris felt she had to leave New York and return to France where Allen was fighting. Doris and Allen never met  but she ended up living with a recluse in England until after the war ends.

Jenny discovered the pages of the memoir and read them when she was not at the hospital with Doris. 

I enjoyed meeting Doris and reading the descriptions of life before and after World War II. I felt that some of the other characters were  it as well developed as Doris. I found the ending was not realistic but that it fit into the story nicely. 

This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg was first published in Sweden in 2017. The book has since been translated to English by Alice Menzies and is available as of January 2019. This novel documents the sentimental journey of Doris, a 96-year-old woman living alone in Stockholm. Her only living relative is Jenny, her grandniece who lives in the US with her young family. The two women skype once a week and have a close and loving relationship. Doris was given a red address book by her father when she was a child. Throughout her long life, she wrote in many names of people who were part of her journey. In her old age, she started to write the story of each person in her book so that Jenny would know the history of Doris and herself. In failing health, Doris cannot forget one man who passed in and out of her life. Whatever happened to him? This small novel is a beautiful story of one woman's life. It is a little gem. Highly recommended. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Doris’ story is rich with details, friendship, love, laughter and loneliness. From the perspective of the present to endowed glimpses of her past, Lundberg pieces together a story of a life fully lived.  Told across time and generations, Doris has experienced so much through the changing times.  A lovely look at a life and a generation.
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This book was very beautiful and heartwarming. I really liked the way Doris narrated her story through her red address book and the people mentioned in it. 
The author goes between past and present in a very smooth and beautiful way. Also the ending of the book was beautifully done and very emotional .
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This book told the life story of a 90-something year old woman through the entries in her address book. I found Doris' story to be quite interesting. She was an extremely strong person who besides surviving WWII, also survived many heartaches and challenges in her long life. I loved that she was writing her life story for the benefit of her great niece Jenny. She wanted her to know about her entire life, not just the bits and pieces you normally learn about an older relative. Reading this made we wish I had asked my older relatives about their lives...they also lived through challenging times and I wonder what that was like.

Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this book for review.
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A lovely nostalgic novel that examines love, self reflection, & the end of life while chronicling the life of a fiesty 96 yr old woman.
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In The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg, Doris is an elderly woman who acknowledges her death is imminent. She has one great niece who is dear to her; as they live in different countries, their connections are limited to Skype sessions. While Doris values those encounters, she doesn't want Jenny to be unaware of the life Doris lived as a young woman, a life that spans countries, beginning with the circumstances that cause Doris to be sent away from home at a young age to work as a servant, only to be welcomed into the live mannequin world, filled with glamour and drudgery. Love, loss, and heartache follow.

Doris takes to typing up her life story, both in hopes Jenny will be able to come into possession of the stories and to fill her empty days. The story is framed by the entries in her red address book, nearly all of whom are deceased. Some individuals only warrant one chapter, others we return to repeatedly.

Both the flashbacks and the present-day sections are engaging and their juxtapositions give us pause as we try to make the transition, much as Doris experiences when she's deep in a captivating flashback, only to be returned to the present day with an impatient caregiver and the reality of her failing body.

The Red Address Book is a solid story. It may not linger with me after having completed it, but the experience was pleasant.

(I received a digital ARC from NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for my honest review.)
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Although I was a wee bit confused in the beginning of which characters the chapter was talking about (because they read like names in an address book), once I got into the rhythm of the book I really enjoyed it.  96 year old Doris knows she is dying and decides to go through her address book she had kept all her life making note of all her friends and acquaintances, and leave behind a history for her great niece who is the only family she has left.  Doris leads an interesting life full of glamour, a passionate love, as well as moments of total despair as the war rages on and she faces personal tragedies.  While sad, I really liked how the author wrapped the story up.  She has a very engaging writing style and I found myself totally absorbed in this story. I read it all in one sitting.
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I received this free in exchange for an honest review. I was really looking forward it - I loved the concept of reflecting back on the the memories of people in an old address book and was expecting an heart-warming story. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I found the writing a little jarring at times with the short sentence structure - maybe this had something to do with the translation in English. And while I thought the history in the book was fascinating and a couple of the characters were interesting, I found the book rather depressing as we made our way through all the DEAD people in Doris' life. 3 stars.
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This was a fun novel to read, as it is told to us through the people who Doris knew and had in her address book, which was given to her by her father when she was a child.  Doris is now 96 years old and living in Sweden, almost house bound at this point and has just her memories to keep her company.
Jenny, Doris's grandniece  and only living relative, lives in San Francisco, but they talk once a week on Skype, which is the highlight of her week.
Doris has lived a full and very interesting life, and so she starts writing her stories addressed to Jenny. She goes through her address book and tells us about the people, places and what was happening in her life when she knew them. When Doris ends up in the hospital, Jenny comes over to visit her and they are able to have a wonderful time as Jenny discovers, a lot of things she never knew, and tries to right something from Doris's past.
Well written and a fascinating look at what her life was like, the loves, tragedies, hardships, privileges and not. 
I definitely recommend this story for those who love a good tale.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the ARC of this book.
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A refreshingly written novel based on a red address book that Doris was given by her late father and as she is now in old age she sees how many of the people that she knew and loved are gone so she begins to record her life from her flat in Sweden whilst talking regularly to her great niece in America. And what a life from being a maid in Sweden to modelling in Paris, fleeing to Manhattan as war comes to Europe then finally returning to Sweden. Meanwhile her grandniece suffers torment in her role as a mother and questions her ability based on her own early childhood years. Beautifully paced with a great cinematic feeling about it, it shows how the human heart can survive all that the world throws at it. It is something that you cannot put down - a great read!
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The Red Address Book is a walk through memory lane of the life of 96 year old Doris. Doris lives alone in Stockholm and spends her days in near isolation except for her Skype calls to her niece in the US, but she's got so many stories to tell. She has spent her whole life writing names in her red address book and crossing names out upon their death. Now, as most names are crossed out, she revisits these very important figures in her life and how they fit in to her own story. From Sweden, to Paris in the 30's, to New York upon WWII, this story takes you on quite an adventure.
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I am not going to lie to any of you- this Goodreads rating is totally influenced by my emotions. Although I like to play my cards close and portray myself as a cynic, Swedish author Sofia Lundberg's Doris squirmed her way into my heart. Just how do the Swedish keep doing this to me?( looking at you, Fredrik Backman)

The greatest comfort in life comes from freely expressing one's opinion and being met with nothing but love in return, even when opinions diverge. 

Usually when a reviewer writes a review we are trying to list all the reason you should/shouldn't read this book. I can only think about one reason you should LOVE! This book is all about that in big capital letters with tears rolling from eyes that have witnessed regrets, loss of family, terror, and above all love. If you need a second reason- well, you just need to meet Doris!

I wish you 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 meetings that you can say a farewell.
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A 96 year old Doris who doesn't really have contact with anyone except for a weekly skype call with her grandniece. She was set to work at 13. Her Memories were lonely besides that of a red address book that her dad gave er. In itt was every person she every meant. A heartwarming book.
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Who amongst us doesn't wish that we had kept a journal of our lives.  Or that our parents and grandparents had so we could see their lives through their eyes.  Whenever family gathers, the conversations always turn to when we were younger.  But what if there were no more family to gather and share stories?  This book addresses that in such an emotional way that the readers all are there with Doris as she relives her life through her address book.  She shares her highs and lows to insure that her grand niece has knowledge of the only relative she has.  I started this book not expecting the wonderful story ride that Sofia Lundberg takes her readers on.  This is one of the books you are sorry to see end.  I'm definitely recommending this book to my reading friends.
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3.5 stars 
The Red Address Book is a story about love, self-relection and end of life.. Who is there for us as we transition towards death? What are we most proud of?
Do we have any regrets? Are we leaving anything unfinished before we pass? These are some of the questions addressed through the eyes of Doris.

Doris is 96 years old. She's lived a hard but interesting life. As she looks through her red address book, given to her as a young child by her father, she realizes that the names that fill her book and once brought her friendship and belonging are now all dead. Dorris is near the end of her life but there is so much untold. Doris needs to write it down before she dies. She needs her story to go on. This book is about Doris' life. She shares her struggles, successes, failures, losses, highlights, friendships and heartbreaks with her grand niece Jenny, as a way to be remembered and tie up loose ends. 

This is a poignant love story that spans through generations. Missed opportunities and misunderstandings make up Doris and Allan's heartbreaking  relationship  The story takes place in Sweden, Paris and New York and has somewhat of a biographical feel to it. It alternates between Doris' life story and her present day end of life transitioning.

It is a beautiful story that could have been perfect with more depth weaved into the plot. I also think there was missed opportunity to delve deeper into some of the main themes like end of life. 

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this book!  Was it sentimental?  Oh yes!  Unrealistic?  Perhaps - but I don't care.   It  made me smile and it made me cry but most of all it made me feel   It made me remember the older people in my life who I have lost.  I wish I knew all their stories from their youth.  

 I loved the concept of the book - using the address book as a vehicle for the stories about various people in Doris's life.  I love it that the author - though not Jenny - had a 'Doris' in her life who had a red address book.  It was perfect  way to write a novel about a woman's life,  The writing is excellent and shows so well how older people have so many fascinating stories in their memory.  

This is a book that will stay in my memory.
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This book follows the story of Doris who was gifted a Red Address Book by her father. She writes down all the names of the people she met and grown to love in it - most of it also crossed out . 
Not wanting to be forgotten, she writes her own life story with the book as prompt for her great niece, Jenny. She writes down her memories of each person on her address book. I got to read about her life and her struggles, her triumphs and her love life. my heart broke for her so many times, my only comfort was the ending.  An 'unputdownable' book. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Great love story! I really love the idea of going through your address book and writing a story/memory about each person in it.  I found this to be well written and poignant in today's hurry up, "let's keep in touch', call me world. This is a lovely book to immerse yourself in. I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher and this is my honest opinion.
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