A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Rating: 5/5 stars
Page Count: 337
Publication Date: August 27, 2012
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2017
“Ove is the sort of man who checks the status of all things by giving them a good kick.”
A Man Called Ove is a story about a grumpy old man, set in his ways and trying to find his way back to his wife. The premise of the story is pretty grim, as Ove’s wife has recently passed away from cancer and unable to bear the loss any longer, Ove repeatedly tries to commit suicide. But when new neighbors move in next door, including Parvaneh, a pregnant and assertive Iranian woman, Ove is shaken out of his routine and is forced to interact with his community.
The storyline is simple but beautifully told, toggling between flashbacks of Ove’s life and the present. Backman does a wonderful job of fleshing out his characters and creating distinctive voices for each of them. Despite the serious topic of the book, Ove’s antics and world views were unexpectedly hilarious and Backman really brought Ove’s character to life through his inner dialogues. There were so many times I found myself laughing while reading this book. Some especially funny moments were when Ove blocked a Mercedes from getting a parking spot at the flower shop and when Ove argued with a clown at the hospital.
“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”
Along with being funny, Ove’s story is also deeply touching. Ove’s love story with Sonja particularly melted my heart and was so incredibly sweet! Ove has not had an easy life, but he has truly made the most of each moment in his own way. His love for his wife, his friend Rune, Parvaneh and her family, and even his cat shine through his rough facade. I couldn’t stand Ove at the beginning of the book but grew to love him the more I read. I couldn’t help but thinking of how many “Ove’s” I know in my life that have more depth to them than they reveal. The end of the book was also very satisfying and the epilogue made me smile.
A Man Called Ove is a wonderful, feel-good, and at times emotional, story of an ordinary man stuck in his ways and dealing with grief. Beautifully written, I can definitely see this book as one that I would re-read again! Do you know anyone in your life that reminds you of Ove? Let me know in the comments!