A Happy Boy by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A Happy Boy was my first read by Bjørnson, as well as my first Norwegian story, and it was simply amazing. It felt like such a light and refreshing read, and I loved it from the first paragraph and knew I was going to love the rest! I often have to read 20 pages or so before I get truly interested, but that wasn't my experience here.
The story opens with a remark about Oyvind as a baby, and quickly goes to his early childhood, where he meets Marit. I appreciated that the story started almost immediately, without a lot of explaining or "fluff," and that there was still so much to tell. There were some points I wish I had known a little more, or certain times where I was confused by the span of time, but I don't feel like I missed anything, and the time frame soon became rather clear.
About halfway in Oyvind goes off to school, and while Bjørnson doesn't write much about Oyvind's life at school, I really loved that time because we were only privy to the letters he wrote, and I liked seeing the differences in writing amoung he, Marit, and the school master. I found a lot of it amusing as well, like requests to burn immediately, and Oyvind getting frustrated with Marit's short letters.
As Oyvind came home I came to love him even more by his role with his family, his determination with Marit, and how he so respectfully stood up to her family and eventually gained favor, to the point that he not only got her, but the farm as well!
While I would have loved to read about the wedding "as it was happening" there was something wonderful about it being narrated, and while I was so sad the story was coming to an end, I was also so happy with how it was ending and I felt it was perfect. Sometimes there is a happy ending.
Oyvind was always a happy boy.
You can read this book for free via Amazon Kindle here. If you read it (or have read it), please tell me your thoughts!