Publication Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Synopsis: In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, 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 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 and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.
With the upcoming release of Fredrik Backman’s new novel, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, I thought that I would do a special review of his debut novel, A Man Called Ove. I had originally reviewed this book on GoodReads, but since I’ll be reviewing My Grandmother asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry this coming week, I thought it would be a good plan to post a review on A Man Called Ove, because it truly is an amazing book.
When I first stumbled across this book, it was by accident. I was looking at Amazon Kindle books, to find something new to read, and I saw this listed as a daily deal for only $1.99, so I decided to give it a go. Everyone seemed to have good things to say about this book, so I figured it might end up being a really good read, and if not, well it was cheap, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Wow, was I really blown away by this novel. It’s a heartwarming story about a man named Ove (and while he’s not really that old in the book, for some reason I always pictured him being much older), who is incredibly grumpy and doesn’t want to be bothered with anything or anyone. Ove’s wife had passed away, and now that he is alone, he really doesn’t know what to do with himself. He spends time doing his usual checks of the neighborhood, the recycling, and parking situations. When he gets laid off from his job, he finds himself landed with more free time, in which he thinks about his wife, and gets incredibly depressed to the point that he doesn’t want to live without her any longer. So, he does the only thing that he thinks will solve this dilemma – he plans to take his own life. However, the doorbell rings, and Ove’s adventures with the neighbors truly begin. They bring him cookies. They need his help with their children. They ask for driving lessons. They interrupt his quiet, lonely life, and at first, Ove hates it. He wants to be left alone to miss his wife in peace, but after a while, Ove discovers that they aren’t the only ones who need someone…but deep down, maybe Ove needs them, too.
This book is absolutely hilarious in some places, and in others it tends to be heartbreaking and meaningful. It made me appreciate life and those that are in it, and it has a message that has stayed with me months after reading it. At any cost, this has been one of the best books I’ve read, and I cannot recommend it enough to those who haven’t had the delightful experience of picking this one up yet.