A Man Called Ove is written by Fredrik Backman and was published originally in Swedish in 2014.
In this lighthearted and at times heartbreaking story, Ove mourns the passing of his wife Sonja, and as a result, the loss of himself. While struggling to get through his everyday life without Sonja, Ove makes his mind up to take his own life.
The only issue, according to Ove, is that people keep getting in his way.
This old curmudgeon gets a taste of his own medicine: tough love.
From neighbors to friend-turned-enemies, the people around Ove do their best to interfere. Ove grumpily fixes radiators, helps back up trailers, and eventually even ends up caring for the sassy neighborhood cat that nobody else will claim, all while mumbling and grunting his way through the day. He can’t seem to figure out why these ‘imbeciles’ can’t figure out simple aspects of daily life. Little does he know, these same ‘imbeciles’ adopted him as family when he was alone, and gave him more than a few reason to live.
Complete with flashback chapters that help piece together Ove’s difficult life, and the circumstances leading to his dark depression after losing Sonja, this story is captivating.
I laughed. I cried. I cried more. And then I sobbed.
Plot: 9 out of 10 stars.
This story is written in pieces. Each chapter has its own topic, and they are generally very short. This makes the story slightly segmented, but allows for a quick and easy read. I enjoyed this style, as I felt that it helped me to focus on what was happening at the current moment in the plot line of the story and not become distracted by outside details.
Writing Quality: 9 out of 10 pencils.
There were a few moments in this book where I became confused by the writing. This was generally when one or another of the characters was talking and it wasn’t made clear who the character was. That’s pretty much my only complaint about this book’s writing quality.
Backman is a phenomenal writer. His writing gives readers anticipation for the future, and elicits melancholia for the past. Although the story centers on an older man who has a lot of life experience, it is very easily relatable for people my age, Ove’s age, or anywhere in-between.
I felt excited to start a family when Ove’s early marriage was detailed, nervous for home-ownership when he built his own home by hand, and scared to lose the people I love when he lost Sonja. No matter the chapter, Backman places his readers into the equation.
Mascara Reapplication: 7.5 out of 1o bottles.
Yes, to clarify, this book did make me sob. If you read this without a dry eye, you may need to talk to someone about your feelings…
But the moments of sheer laughter and enjoyment written into this plot outweigh the sad moments, and in a way intensify them more. Not only do we see Ove as a grumpy old man who at one point dislikes nearly everyone, but as the chapters go by, we see Ove as a kinder person who just is unable to express his feelings in a ‘typical’ way.
For this reason, I gave the tear-jerker factor a 7.5 out of 10.
Laugh Level: 8 out of 10 snorts.
Yep. I actually laughed out loud.
That does not happen often while I read. This book contains humor, that if you are a frequent use of sarcasm, you’ll especially enjoy.
Overall Reading Enjoyment: 10 out of 10 hearts.
I love this book. It made me think, it made me feel, and it made me love the people around me even more strongly.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a heartfelt story. This book hits all of the feels.
Image from Amazon.com
Available for $9.78 from Amazon for the paperback version.