Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Published July 15th 2014 by Atria Books
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations. 

My Thoughts
I was seeing this novel pop up just about everywhere, so I just had to pick it up and see what type of adventure I was in for. Truly glad I decided to dive into A Man Called Ove because I definitely enjoyed the journey from beginning to end. The story was steady, engaging and easily kept my attention the entire time.

Ove is described as a grumpy old curmudgeon, and when I started the novel I was expecting he was a seventy or eighty year old man. However, unless I’m grossly mistaken, Ove was in his late fifties, so that gave me a slightly different impression of him that what I think the author intended. But, that didn’t stop me from seeing Ove as a stoic, rule-following, stick in the mud. Keep in mind, I describe him in such a manner with a light heart that enjoyed him immensely!

In this story, we learn how Ove is at a time in his life where he’s lost his job. Coupled with that, he’s still struggling with the death of his wife, and that compounds his desperate need to keep some sort of order in his life while at the same time trying to end it. To add to the chaos he feels, he now has to deal with a young family literally crashing into his neighborhood, which manages to toss the last pieces of normalcy out the door.

As the story progresses, we uncover Ove’s backstory, which includes a series of tragedies that can easily have the reader sobbing like a baby. His experiences definitely have a hand in molding Ove into the stoic, hard-edged man that believes in structure, order and fairness.

When Parvaneh and her family move into Ove’s community, his defenses are tested as this full-of-life mother/wife forces him to connect with people once again. I loved Parvaneh to pieces! Her loud, unassuming nature was exactly what Ove needed to feel purpose in his life once again.

Overall, Ove was a stand-up character that I enjoyed getting to know. His past was intriguing, and clearly showed how your experiences can mold you into the person you will later become.

Lovely novel that’s filled with a cast of unforgettable characters. If you’re looking for something heartfelt and emotional, A Man Called Ove will not disappoint.
4 Suns

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