The book was originally a Swedish novel and centres around Allan Karlsson who is living in an old peoples home - and as simply as the title of the book puts it, he escapes out of his window and disappears on his hundredth birthday. When he first escapes, he happens upon a suitcase filled with money (that he is unaware of) and makes his way on a bus journey to as far as his fifty crown note will take him whereupon a mass of crazy adventures and people ensue.
This book was absolutely hilarious, combining history with dark comedy with just plain stupidity. The adventures that follow Allan in the present day are ridiculous but this just makes it pure genius. I've found that a lot of authors tend to try and over complicate things within a story, but I thought that Jonasson created a story from the simplest of ideas - an old man escaping from an old peoples home - it's so simple that you wonder why nobody had thought of it before, and I think that a lot of people would think it sounds too obvious and everyone's always after the more intriguing, complicated, imaginative stories out there when in fact the best ones are made of the simplest ingredients. Saying that, I'm not implying that this book was simple in the least, in fact it was far from simple. It followed the life of Allan from the escape as well as following Allan's life as a whole from the day he was born up until the present day itself. In fact Allan's past was just as hilarious and coincidental as his escape was.
The story had a nice balance between the past Allan and the present day Allan and at the beginning I didn't want either side of the story to end when it came to the end of that particular chapter. Halfway through the book, however, the balance became a little too one sided in favour of past Allan and the present day Allan was a little neglected, it was as if Jonasson had come to the end of his tether with regards to the crazy adventures Allan could get himself into on the run from the police and the old peoples home. It started to get a little lacklustre and the historical element, as brilliant as they were to read as they were based upon real events in actuality, started to become a little tiresome for my likings. A lot of the historical issues that were presented in the past Allan scenes were on the topic of politics, and as much as I was trying to keep up and understand, I'm just generally not interested and am admittedly quite ignorant on that particular subject so found myself to (not entirely) be skimming the pages about communists, socialists, etc as it started to get a little bit boring for me. On the other hand, if you understand, then I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem but for me it's just a personal preference.
The thing that really stood out to me was the characters, each character along Allan's journey has an amazing story behind them and for once the description of each and every characters main life story did not detract from the whole books story as a whole - in fact it added to the hilarity and plain ludicrous nature of it. This was spread out across almost every character from past to present and there wasn't anybody I hated in the slightest as everyone had their own little unique twist on the story and sometimes their little tales were so unbelievable that you just had to sit back and laugh. This meant that you got to know the characters, not on a personal emotional level, but on a factual level which was a refreshing change to the books I have been known to read revolving around peoples emotions and love stories which I have started to grow sick of.
This was just a simple book with an enormous amount of crazy surrounding it. In fact it's the most ridiculous unbelievable book I have ever read, but that's just what makes it pure genius.