Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman

Source: Found a used copy in a book sale

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Humour

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.
This book had a slow start for me. It didn't quite grab my attention at the start. That was partially due to the fact that I was (once again) attempting to read several books at once. However, I had heard some really wonderful things about this book, so I definitely wanted to stick with it and give it a solid shot. I decided that I would need to set aside any other books I was reading and force myself to read A Man Called Ove, otherwise I would be too tempted to read faster paced Young Adult novels.
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Once I was focused on this book alone, it was still kind of slow for me. There were some funny parts (poor old Ove just can't catch a break!), but it still didn't really mean much to me, and I was finding the flashbacks a bit annoying.

After about the 3/4 mark, however, I was completely invested. It wasn't that anything significant happened, or anything like that; something in my mind just clicked, I guess, and I suddenly really needed to know what was going to happen to Ove and his neighbours. I suppose I was also starting to see the picture the flashbacks were tying to show us.

And then the ending... Well, once I got there, I finally knew what everyone had been talking about! This certainly is a very moving story, with a tear-jerking ending. As curmudgeonly an old grouch as Ove is, he's a really loveable character. I enjoyed how we see Ove's crusty old frozen heart slowly melt and soften to encompass those around him - both new and old.

It was especially funny entertaining for me to read this story, as I work with the elderly on a daily basis. Trust me, I've met a few Ove's. Of course, Ove isn't really as old as he acts, which I suppose is part of his charm.

Overall, a touching story, and I do recommend it!

My Goodreads rating:

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