book rec: a man called ove

Hello!

I hope everyone’s having a great start to the week – I know I am! And whew, it’s been awhile since I last wrote a book review. I fell out of my book reviewing funk for a bit just because I wasn’t really reading anything spectacular. However, I did manage to find the time to read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. To put it quite simply, this story is about a grumpy old man who is living a pretty unhappy life for the majority of the book, but manages to find love and comfort among his neighbors.

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I had heard fabulous things about A Man Called Ove before I picked it up – in fact, that’s precisely why I picked up the book. The synopsis on its own doesn’t sound like it would turn out to be an amazing read, but Backman’s ability to pull the reader in is truly remarkable.

Ove is quite the character – he’s the true definition of a curmudgeon. He’s the neighborhood “Resident Adviser” – if you will – and makes sure everything in the neighborhood is in order, including the behavior of neighbors. Usually if the main protagonist is constantly negative, grumpy, or stingy, I will instantly dislike them. But Ove… Ove is different. Why? As Backman reveals Ove’s past every few chapters, readers learn that the surface layer of Ove is not all that makes up Ove as a human being. Ove is layered and complex, often even hiding his true, endearingly soft heart inside the hard outer shell.

I mentioned the flashback chapters of Ove’s life and I have to say, those were probably my favorite parts of the book. The reader is taken back to how Ove grew up with an inspirational father, his struggles with his career, and the meeting of him and his wife. Call me a softie, but the memories of Ove meeting his wife reminded me so much of the classic Nicholas Sparks romances about the old couples, aka romance in the 60s (and the really romantic stuff). It seriously gave me the case of the warm and snuggly feelings!

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When I turned the last page in A Man Called Ove, I was struck with the importance of having people that care about you in your life. Some people – sometimes the most unlikely people – will get you through hardships in your life at your lowest of lows. As long as you know, deep down, what’s right and understand your own moral character, people will help, solely because there are other people out there who care and love selflessly. Ove is a spectacularly lovable character also because of his ability to latch onto a moral compass that points north from the start, and hold onto that even until the end, even when his distaste for his neighbors bug that crap out of him.

A Man Called Ove is a touching novel that tells the story of one of the most memorable characters out there. If you’re looking to branch into the adult fiction world or just need a read that will tug at your heartstrings, go for A Man Called Ove – you won’t regret it.

Have a fantastic week,

Jen

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