This authorised biography follows Tove’s life, mostly in chronological order. You begin to understand what was going on in her life when she created each piece of art, how her friends and family affected her and how important family really is. It’s the sort of book you don’t rush through. Usually I try to read as fast as possible because I have a huge reading list of over 800 books, but with this I had to savour every word. It took me a few days to get through, it’s quite big at 576 pages, but every second was worth it.
I can’t thank Boel Westin enough for taking the time to read through all of Tove’s letters and documents, compile them and put them into this novel. Natasha Janz of Sort of Books says Westin had “incredibly privileged and never-to-be-repeated access because she became close friends of Jansson and her partner Tuulikki Pietilä, both of whom have now died, and did a considerable amount of work with them in Tove’s lifetime, going through diaries and letters and being able to discuss it with Tove.”
There are a lot of pictures, each fitting with the text – most of them have never been published before so it’s always nice, as a Tove Jansson enthusiast, to read new information and see new images. It’s the little things like knowing her favourite walking route in Paris that makes this book so special. It filled me with such inspiration, knowing she lived her life as she wanted to and I like to think it was a happy one. I don’t know what else I could say other than if you like Tove Jansson, you must read this book! The only negative aspect of this book is that it comes to such an abrupt end. I first read it on my kindle and it tells you how long you’ve got left in the book, which counted the bibliography. The way it was written didn’t really imply it was coming to an end. I thought it might’ve discussed Tove’s last few years of her life as little is known about it other than she was diagnosed with lung and breast cancer and spent her last year in hospital.
Tove Jansson is an inspiration to work hard, love passionately and appreciate art in all its forms.