Superficially, this novel seems like just a nicely written (or at least, well translated) feel-good story. Ove and his neighbors become involved in all kinds of crazy, implausible, slapstick antics. The book is frequently too sentimental and is largely predictable, so that I was never once in doubt about the plot's outcome.
But I never once even thought about closing the book and moving on, because underlying the silliness is a tale filled with humor and genuine emotion. It's an unexpectedly fine and touching portrait of a real and complex man. Ove may not be Everyman, but he is authentic and familiar; he made me laugh and even tear up a time or two. His story is one I thoroughly enjoyed, and would recommend.
This is a book that I'd managed to ignore for almost a year. When I keep seeing the same title over and over again on the book websites and blogs that I frequent, I tend to go into avoidance mode. Hype makes me suspicious. It wasn't until recently when someone whose opinion I trust recommended this book that I decided to give it another look. Am I ever glad that I did.
A Man Called Ove runs the gamut of emotions: laughter, exasperation, anger, compassion, fear, love, loss. Those new neighbors of his force him to get involved in something other than his own tunnel-vision plans, and as Ove constantly gets yanked into the lives of others, his backstory is slowly revealed. That backstory makes all the difference in the world because we get to see Ove as a child, as a teenager, as a young man-- and we see why Ove became so mean-spirited.
Some may dismiss A Man Called Ove as a simple "feel good" story. Yes, it does make the reader feel good, but that assessment sells this book short. It is a wonderful characterization and examination of a man's life. It just may get some of us to re-evaluate the curmudgeons in our own lives.
I was stunned to learn that this is a debut novel because it certainly doesn't read like one. I could ramble enthusiastically for several more paragraphs, but I won't. If you've been avoiding Fredrik Backman's book because of the hype, stop. Pick it up and read it. My only warning? Have a family-size box of tissues close at hand when you near the end. You will be crying. Crying for sad... and crying for happy.
Sometimes you take a book to bed and finish it and say, "well that was a waste of time". Sometimes you say, "gosh I loved this book". Then once in awhile, not very often, you say nothing and silently slip it under your pillow, turn out the light and think how sometimes a book was meant for you at that time in your life. Ove made me laugh out loud. Ove made me wanna sock a couple "white shirts". And Ove made my mascara run.....ALL OVER MY FACE. Ove reminded me to never overlook even those who seem to need no one. This is an author I will always watch for. Ove wasn't just a story, it was also a lesson in life that we all could use a reminder of. I loved Ove.
An absolutely delightful read! A grumpy man with principles and a bigger heart than he is willing to show. I loved the characters. It is humorous, heart warming and bittersweet, but thoroughly enjoyable!
Am I glad I decided to give this book a try. I fell in love with Ove immediately. He's a grumpy, but lovable old man with a big heart, but you have to read the book to find out just how big it is!
This book has everything...it's hilarious, laugh out load funny, sad; you'll smile and cry at the same time, LOVED it!