Here's a happy book, and a funny book too, with a happy ever after ending. The only wrinkle- is there anything to discuss at bookclub? Do angst filled novels lend themselves to discussion and dissection better than happy ones? Perhaps the book club conversation could broaden to what makes everyone happy, and then everyone could proceed directly to the wine and food!
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson bucks the rules of fiction, which usually requires that the protagonist discover his flaw and struggle to overcome it. It's a fun satire on the usual mystery, with plot coincidences that would make a soap opera writer proud!
The most dispassionate of protagonists, Allan is 100, and very tired of the nursing home matron who won't let him drink his vodka. He makes a run for it. Allan doesn't need to change one bit. It's the world and reader who need to change to understand Allan's trust that everything will turn out as it needs to turn out. Allan calmly proceeds through every event of note in the 20th century, unflappable and self sufficient.
So why does this work? Usually I would dislike a book that was empty of any personal growth in the protagonist. It would feel like the mechanical churning of plot. This book breaks the rules of luck and coincidence as well. And yet.
Perhaps it is this flaunting of all the rules that charms with a Rube Goldberg of a plot. Perhaps it is the reader who is changed, by thinking, "You know, perhaps Allan might teach me a thing or two about being open minded and adaptable."
Allan's flaws didn't shape a crisis and epiphany. The people in the world with all their theories and doctrines have the flaw, and if they chose to have an epiphany after reading this book, well that would be just fine with Alan. He would drink to that!
Perhaps you will too.