What will life be like when we are 93, or even 100 years old? One thing is for sure: we’ll have stories to tell. This week I read Water for elephants (by Sara Gruen) and watched The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared (Felix Herngren). It wasn’t a themed week by purpose, but since the overlap is there, why not discuss them side by side?
Water for elephants:
When circus comes to town the 93 year old Jacob Jankowski thinks back about his own circus history. We learn about the train circus Benzini Brothers, the horse whispering Marlena, and the gin doting elephant Rosie. We also learn that Jacob is not yet ready to be fully pampered in a nursing home.
The 100 year old man…
is originally a book as well. Jonas Jonasson wrote about a very intriguing character. When Allan Karlsson sneaks out of the old folk’s home on his 100th birthday, it is the start of a crazy adventure. Meanwhile, you slowly learn about the adventures that Allan has experienced from an early age onwards. He has travelled to many countries and is still as independent as when he was nine years old. A funny coincidence is that Allan also picks up an elephant along the way…
Both stories address the problems that older people often have to cope with. Especially when they still function just fine it can be very degrading how younger people treat you like a child, how you are basically dependent on the whims of others, and are no longer seen as a full person. It makes you want to visit your grandparents right away.
Both Jacob and Allan have some small ageing problems, like walking slowly. But beside these, they are fully in their right mind and aren’t ill in any way. In their own ways, they will challenge the notions that others have of them as helpless half persons.
As you might suspect I recommend Water for elephants and The 100 year old man… . And maybe we can start looking for a nice old folk home sometime soon? We can’t be early enough if Gruen and Jonasson are to be believed…