Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué is reading ‘My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry’

this is the cover image of the book My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. There is an illustration of a little girl and a dog facing away from the viewer.My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman is a sweet (emotional) coming-of-age story about a seven-year-old girl (Elsa) coming to terms with her grandmother’s passing. Elsa’s grandmother used to tell her all these fantastic stories about a make-believe land. Elsa discovers the letters to people her grandmother left for her when she passes, taking her on a treasure hunt throughout her apartment building. She encounters intriguing neighbors and creatures from her grandmother’s fairytales during the adventure. Several years ago, I purchased this novel at a bookstore in Portland, Oregon from some famous bookstore that all the tourists visit. I did not read it at the time. But I returned to the novel recently. As someone who lost a close family member during the covid pandemic (my maternal aunt, “tata Virginie,” who was like a mother to me), this book reminds me of the transformative role that stories, and creativity, play in grieving and healing.

Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué Resident Fellow (2022-2023)