REVIEW: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

June 20, 2016

 

SYNOPSIS: 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.

 

GENRE: Fiction

 

RATING: ★★★★☆/ 4 sweet and tear-stained stars.

 

REVIEW: You know the first four minutes of UP (the 2009 film)? Well add in the last four minutes of the film too, mix and repeat numerous times, and you have the emotional range with which A Man Called Ove played me like a violin.

 

I loved this book. Having previously read Fredrik Backman's My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, I knew what I was in for with this book. The laughs. The tears. The "aw, how sweets" and "oh, no, please, noes". The author manages to create a quiet depth to his characters and story that feels a bit sneaky amid the humor, rising up on you almost without realizing it. Suddenly your deep within a profound book about life, love, and transformation. A story about quiet human character and actions that speak louder than words. Beautiful.

 

I could expound on every little moment of this book that added to the greatness of the story, but as always, I don't want to give any spoilers, so there's only so much reviewing that I can do. In the end, this is a wonderful story that will leave you simultaneously laughing and crying. It will leave you with a deeper appreciation for life and the people you may overlook, because looks can be deceiving. And maybe we should get to know our neighbors better.

 

I highly recommend this book, as well as Backman's other works. I'll be reading his Grandmother spinoff Britt-Marie Was Here later this year and I'm excited, but I think I need a breather before I jump right into another laugh-cry fest!

 

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