“One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead.” – Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – Translated by Henning Koch
Published by Atria Books in July 2014
Blurb: 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 take on it: Wonderful. I fell in love with Ove (by the way pronounced Oo-vuh, as the character is Swedish). This book was so sweet and moving, yet also laugh out loud funny. Just like the other characters in this story I truly felt a gravitational pull toward this older man with his gruff exterior, but unwavering sense or responsibility and respect. Men like Ove seem to be a dying breed and one our world desperately needs more of. He’s honest, hard-working, and has real integrity. As I dove deeper into Ove’s story I couldn’t help but think about how events and people in our lives help shape who we become. This book makes some really lovely points about life, loss and how we spend our time while we’re here. I really just loved Ove’s train of thought and bluntness. One of my favorite quotes (as a fellow short person) :
“Ove feels an instinctive skepticism towards all people taller than six feet; the blood can’t quite make it all the way up to the brain.” – Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove
I definitely recommend reading this book. They even made a movie (which I haven’t seen yet), but read the book first!
Thanks for reading my reviews! Let me know what you think!