Review: A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)
“She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.”
A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Page Count: 294
Published: (UK) 7 May 2015
Plot: (9 / 10) Characters: (9 / 10) Ending: (9 / 10)
At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.
But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?
In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…
I spotted this book in a charity shop, and as it was one the lovely Amy had really enjoyed, I knew I had to buy it. I had a feeling I’d fall in love with this book as soon as I started it and I wasn’t disappointed.
Ove is one of those people that everyone has encountered at some point in their lives. Everything is black and white to him, his stubbornness is unrelenting and his many ofhis thoughts and opinons are narrow-minded and offensive. Despite all of this, it was so easy to warm to him (although if you actually had him as a neighbour you may feel differently!)
Ove and Sonja’s story was beautiful and heartbreaking, the way Ove “saw the world in black and white. But she was colour. All the colour he had.” I absolutely loved the descriptions of their relationship, it was heartwarming. I loved hearing about how they met, and how their relationship developed over time.
I thought the other characters were brilliant, they were all larger than life, and I think everyone will be able to find something to relate to in all of them – even Ove. I loved the way he nicknamed characters (though I had to go back and double check who was who a couple of times!) and I enjoyed the way he ultimately got to know them, despite his grumpy nature and indifference.
One thing I thought was a bit off was Ove’s age – 59. I didn’t think this quite tallied with his character, I felt more like I was reading a book about a 70 year old man. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story at all, but I did choose to ignore the mention of age!
The chapters are quite short, and I found it was a book I tended to dip in and out of over the space of a few days rather than race through it, and I’m glad I read it like that.
This is a book I think everyone should read, it’s beautifully written, completely charming and manages to be the perfect blend of funny and sad.