The Unpredictability of Being Human

I loved this book.

I’d have read it much sooner if there had been any mention of it being an aspie novel. This is not – necessarily – something you discover by leafing through a few pages. To me it looked like your typical Americanised school relationship story, albeit a good one. And I could never get my head round whether it was translated or not. Seems it’s not, as Linni Ingemundsen is Norwegian, but presumably wrote her book in English. Americanised English. I am being aspie about this, I know. But I believe Malin, the main character in this book, would understand what I mean.

Linni Ingemundsen, The Unpredictability of Being Human

14-year-old Malin watches the time and keeps us posted on how many hours and minutes and seconds it has been. She is open-minded, but clueless, which leads to her doing whatever the others at school tell her to do, when really it would have been better if she hadn’t. Very temporarily Malin acquires a friend, one who looks out for her, until she loses her by not understanding what you say or don’t say to others.

This is the story of her life, as Malin goes from one slightly baffling thing to the next. You can Google life, but that still doesn’t mean you get it right. As happens all the time in real life, she is suitable fodder for the mean girls in her class. Her dysfunctional family are more ‘normal’ than Malin, but not normal enough to realise quite how much she needs their help.

This book has it all; sex, drinking, how to avoid drowning, lying, how to kiss a boy, what not to do with scissors, dislocated shoulders, and death. If you’re not Malin, it comes across as mildly humorous. For Malin everything is puzzling. Unless it’s maths.

There is a genuinely Norwegian flavour to everything, including words and phrases not translated. I think I can guess what lapper might be.

Malin is a wonderful character and I wish her well for the future. I hope for someone to explain the weirdest aspects of ‘normal’ life to her, when she needs it.

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