A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is one of those books that I’ve seen floating around on those “must read” book lists for a few years now. It was one of those books that kind of piqued my interest, but I also wasn’t in a hurry to read. Fortunately, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) posted a Facebook status about how she liked the book and this caused me to ask my boyfriend to buy it for me for Valentine’s Day and I’m so glad I did. A Man Called Ove is a wonderful and charming book and I really do wish I would have read it sooner.
The Goodreads description for this book says “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.”
I don’t really know where to begin with this book, it’s just absolutely charming and heartwarming and I was pleasantly surprised by it. Ove is a grumpy old man and after his wife passes away and he is forced to retire from his job, he just wants to die, fortunately the universe has another plan for him. I think this book is important for people who are struggling with mental illness because Ove’s story shows that even when you think that everything that you have to live for is gone, you never know what will happen and there’s always something to live for.
A Man Called Ove is one of those books that goes back and fourth between the past and the present. Sometimes I find this frustrating when books do this, but for this book I really enjoyed it. The sections that took place in the past really help the reader understand who Ove is and where he gets his principles from. They also help them understand who his wife was and how much he loved her; Ove and Sonja’s love story is really sweet and I might even include this book in next year’s countdown to Valentine’s Day on bookstagram.
Ove is a really great character because he is so principled and set in his ways. For example, there’s a rule about no driving in the residential area and Ove makes it his mission to ensure that this rule is followed. There are so many instances in this book where you just have to stop and laugh because you’re imagining this older gentleman outside screaming at cars. The other great thing about Ove is that even though he’s your stereotypical grumpy old man, he has a huge heart and he does so many great things for people.
The other character that I really enjoyed in this book was Parvaneh. Parvaneh is Ove’s new neighbour and she seems like the kind of person you would want to be neighbour’s with. She’s funny and a little bit pushy, but her heart is in the right place. The things that Parvaneh makes Ove go through are hilarious and you should really read this book if you want to laugh.
The other great thing about this book is that there’s a cat in it. Ove refers to the cat as the Cat Annoyance and I feel like the author has had a lot of experience with cats because the cat is written purrfectly. The cat is sassy and he has a bit of an attitude problem, but what cat doesn’t? I also like that this cat gets to go on lots of adventures with Ove.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m so happy that I finally got around to reading it. I recommend checking it out, especially if you need a laugh or have a grumpy old man in your life.
Rating: 5/5 Stars!