Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Goodreads Summary: 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.
I think I should start with a few scene setting disclaimers. I bought this book on Audible; it was on sale for 2.99 or something. The premise seemed interesting. I first started listening to this book when I was on my way to the doctor to find out if I’d need surgery… and I got stuck in traffic… an hour and a half worth of NJ traffic. Needless to say I wasn’t in a happy mood.
I listened to about a quarter of the book that day and I abhorred it! Ove was not friendly and I couldn’t imagine myself living next to him. I was very much convinced I knew why this wretched book was on sale. At this point, the performance of the audiobook was the only saving grace.
I returned to listening a week later. Finally the story was moving and we were getting to see glimpses of the Ove’s past. We were meeting people in his current life – this was also around the time the pipe bombs were planted in Seaside NJ — and I was distraught and needed to believe again in the goodness of humanity. A Man Called Ove did just that.
I loved Ove by the time I finished this book. I’d placed him in the stereotypical ‘cranky senior’ category and never bothered to get to know his story. And what a lovely story it is; one of everlasting love, strong friendships and unbreakable spirits. Standing up for what is right and pure. It’s a story about the kind of people you want to have around you. Maybe I’m being lame but I’m starting to tear up writing this.
Needless to say the strength of this book was it’s characters. Switching gears, I also found it freshing that the story was set in Sweden; I don’t know much about Sweden and kept wondering why there was so much mention of snow. HA! This led me to some googling. I found out that this book was written in Deutsch and then translated to English in 2012. Well I’ll be a monkey’s aunty!! I usually hate hate hate hate translated books – so much is lost in translation but golly me this was fantastic!
To my further amusement – the book has been turned into a movie in 2015. I smell a movie/date night!! The husband has a mandatory seat next to mine but I think he’ll like this one. The actors are foreign – but if I had to recast the American version:
Ove: Clint Eastwood
Parwana: Priyanka Chopra
And the rest I’m open to ideas!
Hope you guys enjoyed the review and enjoy the book.
PS: this author is younger than me; look at the wonderful things he’s doing. Three books and counting… and I’m peeling potatoes. *sigh*