A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

by Fredrik Backman

Overview: 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 feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. “If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review).

Judy Stanton (05/16/17): We all know people like Ove. One reviewer called him a "curmudgeon." Doesn't talk very much. Has his own ideas about how things should be. Must follow the rules. Yet, hates the bureaucracy. Old fashioned; doesn't understand how "people today" don't know how to do "stuff" that comes so easily to him. A Man Called Ove is really a uniquely written book, that charms you along without your even realizing it. Through flash backs, you learn about his mother, his father, his wife, his neighbor/friends and how he came to have such a quirky personality. Yet, somehow, almost despite himself, oftentimes remembering what his wife, Sonja, would think or say in a situation,he comes to the aid of those around him. It's a slow paced book that keeps you wanting to come back. It's warm and funny and heartwarming, and I found myself racing through the last few chapters. Stick with it....it can be a little slow going...but it is worth it in the end.
Rating: ****

Debbie Weiss (11/23/16): Ove is an older man, depressed with life after his wife, Sonja, passed away. Everything and everybody just rubs him the wrong way. He is irritable and moody and nobody really likes him very much. He decides to commit suicide to end his life on earth and to end his misery. That is, until he meets the new next door neigbors. They are a young couple with two outgoing little daughters and a third one on its way. The very pregnant Parvaneh is not one to be rebuffed by this difficult old man. Over time she forces Ove to interract with her and her family and to reestablish relationships with others of the human race. While the book is very predictable, it is written sweetly with love for all the characters and kept me engrossed and sorry when it finally ended. A delightful read!
Rating: ****

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