Oh, Alice. Why didn’t you read this book sooner?! I often say this to myself after I’ve read a book that I’ve loved. And that’s exactly what happened with this read! Let’s chat about this book, shall we?
Spoiler Free Review
Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Published: Atria Books, 2014
(from GR) A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
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 is a lovely read about a man and his life. That’s it really. He’s grumpy, a stickler for the rules, and can hold a grudge like no-one else can. But he feels strongly – and that’s what makes this story and all its adventures so hilarious, and also so sad.
One of the things I’ve found I love about Fredrik Backman’s writing is his characters. They are so real. You can see people you know in them. This is exactly what I felt about Ove. I could see my Dad, my Grandad, other members of my family and friends in every action and every word. It was such a refreshing experience, and made the book even more touching. The other cast of characters are really eclectic – like a real neighbourhood. I felt like I could have stepped into Ove’s street and spoken to any of these characters; joined in on all the fun.
The plot seems fairly basic (and I’ll admit that in the first few chapters I wondered where this was going and how it could fill a 300 page novel), but then it becomes a much fuller story with complications and life lessons. I loved the fact that the book flipped back and forth throughout Ove’s life, detailing the growth in his relationships and the trials he has gone through. As you learn about Ove’s life, you really feel a connection with this man – and that’s what makes it such a tearjerker.
In the simplest, least spoiler-y sense, this book is about a person and the connections they can make in their lives with other people. It really shows just how strong a community can be, and how vital that community can be to each person in it.
I really don’t want to tell you anything that happens in this book. Go in knowing as little as possible and I promise you, you’ll walk away feeling like you’ve just found a new favourite book. I know I have.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars! (Not really a surprise!)
What a wonderful read! I can’t wait to delve into more of Backman’s writing because it makes me laugh and cry in the best of ways. If you’re looking for something heartfelt to read, reach for this book.