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I’ve never been clever using as if’s or as though’s in my writing. I don’t, for example, easily make comparisons between wet socks and flopped cakes or fallen trees and failed exams or heads full of curls and gardens over-planted with chrysanthemums. So, once again, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by a book I just finished for a new book club I’ve joined. The book? Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.

Skimming the description of the book, I greatly enjoyed finding that it’s a story of a 7-year-old girl and her 77-year-old grandmother. The grandma sounded a bit wacky and, at 75, I thought it would be a story I could use to be inventive with my own granddaughter. But that won’t happen, because if I did what that grandma did, no matter how honest and genuine and correct…considering the circumstances, it would only affirm to my friends, and to my granddaughter, that, indeed, I am a bit wacky.

But that’s not my point today. I want to share some quotes from Backman that are so beautifully fresh and creative that they will make you smile. And, with what’s going on in our world these days, I needed, and perhaps you do also, to have some smiling going on.

So here’s Backman with his use of as if. For extra fun, stop reading each sentence when you see the as if and congratulate yourself if your response is even more clever!

The wurse [dog] looks extremely irritated. Not threatening, just irritated. As if there’s a wasp in its bottle of lemonade. (p. 99)

The wurse doesn’t look as if it greatly appreciates being spoken of in the third person singular. (p. 103).

The Monster looks at her as if she just asked him to get naked, roll in saliva, and then run through a postage stamp factory with the lights off. (p. 108)

And then she looks as if she is remembering something unexpected. As if the memory just fell out of a cracked vase. (p. 133).

“Fine, just give me your Wi-Fi password, then, so I can connect to my iPad!” she manages to say, rolling her eyes until it feels as if her pupils are out of position when she stops. (p. 153)

The woman puts her hands in her lap and studies them as if she just caught sight of them for the first time and wonders what in the name of God they’re doing there. (p. 173)

Her head thumps as if something has worked itself loose and is rattling around in there. (p. 195)

She has a shower so hot her skin feels as if it’s about to come away from her flesh like clementine peel. (p. 205)

I hope you’re smiling a bit now. And if you like a Harry Potter-like story with lots of pathos and comedy and quirky intriguing characters, this is a book for you. (You may recall that Backman is also the author of A Man Called Ove.)

By the way, grammar enthusiastsif you’ve forgotten and want to know, as if is a conjunction; I had to look it up.