A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman Book Review

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publication date: 15th July 2014
Page length: 377
Publisher: Atria Books

About the book
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.

Have you ever gotten only a few chapters in to a book and instantly knew that you were going to absolutely LOVE it? Well, that's exactly what happened when I reached approximately chapter 3 of A Man Called Ove. I'd seen this book float around bookstagram lately and the few reviews I'd read on it were incredible. And it's absolutely clear to see why.

I feel like everyone knows an Ove. A grumpy, witty, to-the-point person who comes across a bit blunt and a bit rude. But you might not *really* them, and that's what this book explores, but it does so in such a beautiful and entertaining way that you never get bored of reading about the grumpy old man. I found that after I had finished a chapter I needed to read another one straight away because I couldn't get enough of Ove's story and everything that led him to where he is and how he is today.

Something that struck me instantly about this story, was how narrow-minded and offensive Ove is, yet rooting for him as a protagonist is so easy because you're drawn to him and his story is truely captivating. I fell in love with Ove and Sonja's love story and found it to be unquestionably special and heart-warming. One of my favourite lines from the whole book is "He was a man of black and white. And she was all colour. All the colour he had."

I loved Ove and I loved all the other characters. This is one of the first books I've read in a while where there isn't a tonne of characters to get to grips with, and honestly, it's been refreshing to just concentrate on a select few. There wasn't a character I disliked, but Ove and Pavarnah were my favourite - there was just something so touching and special about their friendship; an unlikely duo who bounced off each other and were complete opposites of one another, but it worked so, so well and was one of my favourite aspects of the book.

If I had to find a fault with anything, it would be that Backman made Ove a 59-year old man, when actually, he plays out as more of a 79 year old man, but if you don't think about this too much and just enjoy the story for what it is, then it's easy to overlook this.

This is easily one of the best books I've picked up in a while and it's also the first book of Backman's that I've read, but I'm certainly going to be picking more of his books up, because if they're anything like A Man Called Ove to go by, then they will be brilliant.

Verdict: ★★★★★

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