Me oltiin siskon kanssa niin pieniä vielä, että suomen kieli unohtui meiltä Ruotsissa nopeasti. Kun palasimme sodan jälkeen kotiin Kajaaniin, äiti ei ymmärtänyt meitä eikä me äitiä. Istuttiin siskon kanssa kammarin pöydän alla ja itkettiin. Lopulta äiti keksi, että mennään apteekkiin. Apteekkari osasi ruotsia. Ne ensimmäiset kuukaudet käytiinkin sitten melkein joka päivä apteekissa. Hymyiltiin jo ovelta, kun nähtiin apteekkari, ja apteekkari hymyili, kun se näki meidät.'
We were still so young with my sister,that we forgot the Finnish language quickly in Sweden. When we came back home to Kajaani after the war, mum didn't understand us and we didn't understand mum. We sat with my sister under the chamber table and cried. Finally mum came up with us going to the pharmacy. The apothecary knew Swedish. Those first months we went to the pharmacy almost every day. We would smile already at the door, when we saw the apothecary, and the apothecary too smiled when they saw us.'
Suomen historia ('History of Finland') is a nonfiction book with little every day stories in a chronological order from Finnish people throughout the last 100 years. The timing is natural as it came out to commemorate our 100 years of independence. My brother actually got this book for my mum as a Christmas present, so naturally I picked it up to give it a read as well, and it became the last book I read in 2017. (I bet mum still hasn't read it now!)
The stories are quite short, one or two little pages each, like the one I picked to showcase you at the top. Some of them were really cute and heartfelt, some of them were a little less easy to understand. As a whole, on the other hand... Well, I don't really feel like there was a 'whole' to talk about here. The stories were cute and Finnish and about Finland, but there wasn't really a connecting thread going on.
Something nice about the book was also that it went through so many important Finnish events - the wars, The Unknown Soldiers, the presidents, Nokia and all that. There's so many things in this book that I think any Finn can find something relate to.
That being said, if I had compiled this book, I would have definitely found more stories so that the least strong ones could have been left out. It could also maybe have benefitted from talking to younger people as well, because a lot of the stories felt to me like they were a bit... 'Kekkonen-era'. Regardless, it was a nice little book with some really lovely stories that made me really happy and proud. Happy hundred years and many more hundreds to go, Finland!