Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Release date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 337
Reading level: Adult 
Genre: Contemporary 
Source: Purchased 
Links: Author Goodreads Amazon 

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars 
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.


A MAN CALLED OVE has been on my radar for quite awhile. It's always being displayed prominently at bookstores and on many suggested reading lists I've come across. I found it at a used bookstore and brought it along for a long plane ride. A MAN CALLED OVE was heartwarming and just an overall delightfully enjoyable book.

Ove (I keep pronouncing this as "ohv" in my head, I realize it is actually "Ovey" or something similar?) is a grumpy older man who lives in Sweden and has followed the same routine for years. He likes to follow the same schedule everyday, drive the same cars, and keep the neighborhood running the same way it always has. Everything changes when a young couple and their children move in next door and impact Ove in ways he never thought possible. I loved reading about Ove. He was such an untraditional character and everything about A MAN CALLED OVE was just very real. The characters seemed like people any one of us could know and Ove, especially, was incredibly layered. For all his grouchiness, Ove is easy to get attached to and I loved reading about his interactions with the neighbors and the cat.

Fredrik Backman created a wonderful cast of characters in A MAN CALLED OVE. I enjoyed getting to know them all and seeing how their lives had intertwined with Ove's over the years. At times sad, this book will leave you feeling ready to share a smile with a lonely stranger or speak to a grumpy neighbor. There is always so much more to a person than the persona they give off, and I loved that Parvana (Ove's new neighbor) was not afraid of Ove and knew just what he needed.

I am eager to check out more of Backman's books and highly recommend A MAN CALLED OVE if you have not already read it. 

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