On Goodreads.com I have 17 books on my all-time favorite list but only a handful occupy the top slots. A Man Called Ove (oo-vah) by Fredrik Backman has taken over the top spot and may never be removed from that spot. It takes a special book to be on my all-time favorite list. They must do one of the following: make me fall in love with the characters, scare the sh*t out of me, make me think, make me smile and snort with laughter, make me have questions at the end so that I want to have a discussion with the author and books should make me so emotional that my dog has to comfort me because I am sobbing so uncontrollably.
A Man Called Ove hits many of these components. It made me smile, it made me want to smack characters on the back of the head, it made me snort with laughter, gasp in shock and it made me sob with happiness and sob with sadness. Just telling people they have to read this book brings tears to my eyes thinking about Ove and the other cast of characters. So to say I absolutely loved this book doesn’t explain how much this book touched me.
All the characters are well developed and very entertaining. Ove (oo-vah) is such a grumpy man he reminds me of a combination of men in my life, past and present. He thinks everyone should follow the rules and he will make sure you do. He doesn’t care what people think, he is going to tell them what to do because he knows how things should be done. The book starts out with Ove trying to buy a computer. He is so frustrated not understanding what the salesman is telling him and the salesman is so flustered by Ove’s gruffness that Ove is passed to a manager who doesn’t want to deal with him.
Then Ove meets a couple trying to back up a trailer where no vehicles are allowed. Patrick, who Ove calls the Lanky One and his wife Parvaneh, who Ove calls the Pregnant One don’t seem to notice Ove’s grumpiness or abruptness. Parvaneh gives back to Ove what he gives.
“What the hell are you doing?” Ove roars at the woman.
“Yes, that’s what I’m asking myself!” she roars back.
Ove is momentarily thrown off-balance. He glares at her. She glares back.
Backman does such a great job with dialog that at times I snort with laughter and reading bits and pieces to family members made them laugh. For example after the Lanky One can’t seem to get the car to straighten out, Ove tells him to get out of the car.
“Go and stand where you’re not in the way.”
The Lanky One nods, slightly confused.
“Holy Christ. A lower-arm amputee with cataracts could have backed this trailer more accurately than you,” Ove mutters as he gets into the car.
I totally fell in love with all of the characters and didn’t want the book to end. I’m still not ready to let these characters go. I listened to the audiobook with actor George Newbern doing a fantastic job narrating. I have since bought the book and plan to read it over and over. Please take the time to meet Ove and the cast of characters who come into his life. You will not be disappointed and you will be glad they came into your life.
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 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.
Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat