Author: Fredrik Backman
Series: Standalone Novel
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars
Synopsis: 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.
Review: After finishing “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman, narrated by George Newbern, three days ago I still don’t quite know how to begin this review. I don’t feel I can adequately express how much this book moved me, or why, years from now, I will think back upon this book as one of my all-time favorites. I will try my best.
At the beginning of the book I saw and felt for Ove as the world around him did. I judged him as a cranky old man. Outdated. A bit of an asshole. Someone I would go out of my way to avoid. Then, because of the beautifully simple, yet profoundly moving, writing of Fredrik Backman, I walked beside Ove and got to know him. I understood his motivations. I understood this way of thinking. I understood his loss and grief. And I understood how he loved. Understood how he showed his loyalty and compassion for others. At the end of the book I, too, loved Ove as the world around him now did. Finishing this book feels like saying goodbye to a dear friend.
At its core, this is a somber book. It’s a tale of heartbreaking loneliness. And the sadness I experienced from Ove’s story pulled deeply at my heart. But, it’s also a tale of hope. Of celebration. To say that this book is an emotional ride is an understatement. I laughed out loud on several occasions. My stomach dropped from dread. I sighed as my heart was lifted. And of course, I cried, a lot, when my heart broke. But more than the emotions I felt was the fact that this book made me think. It caused me evaluate how I connect meaningfully to others, and it gave me a stronger appreciation for living life without regret. If you’re looking for a book to resonate with you, I highly recommend reading “A Man Called Ove”. Just remember to keep the tissues close at hand when you do.