Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Without giving any spoilers away, as per ushe, we will be discussing Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove. I am genuinely unsure as to why I haven’t read this book until now and am kicking myself in the butt for it because it was SO good. This bittersweet tale made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with the old curmudgeon and the people who consistently bothered him. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning for terminal illness, suicide attempts, and miscarriages. Now, let’s get started:
Widower Ove lives in a tidy development of row houses and is convinced that he is surrounded by idiots. There is a right and wrong way to do things and rules to follow, according to Ove, and if you can’t do that… Well, you’re the one in the wrong. Ove lived a life of hardship and tragedy and losing his beloved wife, Sonja, was the final straw. Forced into retirement with not even his job to keep him occupied and an empty house, Ove is ready to die and be reunited with the only person who he loved and who saw him fully and completely. If only his neighbors would leave him in peace, he would have been with Sonja days ago.
The disturbances begin with the arrival of Ove’s new neighbors “The Pregnant One” and “The Lanky One” or Parvaneh and Patrick, respectively. With two little girls in tow, they moved into the development with a bang by destroying Ove’s flowerbeds and mail box. Every suicide attempt is foiled by Parvaneh’s impeccable timing with requests to borrow tools, needing a ride, or delivering a meal to his doorstep. It’s not like Ove hates the new family, but he doesn’t like them very much. However, the new couple and their little girls take a shine to him.
Every day, Ove prepares himself to die and every day he holds off because of a new way that he has been bothered. There’s the mangy cat he begrudgingly became the owner of, his neighborhood that he closely monitors, his annoying neighbors, and an evil man who drives a Skoda. And, of course, Parvaneh and her family won’t leave him alone to the point where the unthinkable happens; He begins to grow fond of them too.
Bold, sweet, pregnant Parvaneh is quite possibly the only person in the world who refuses to let Ove speak out of line and scolds him when he is being rude. She quickly becomes friends with other people in the neighborhood and before you know it, Ove’s house feels like a hotel with people and the cat coming in and out. Parvaneh fills Ove’s life with new people and projects and he doesn’t have the time to die anymore… There is a war coming.
Anita and Rune were Ove and Sonja’s best friends and neighbors. Anita and Sonja got on like two peas in a pod and Rune and Ove enjoyed tinkering in the shed together in silence. No one knows exactly how the feud between Rune and Ove began, but two close friends turned into bitter rivals seemingly over night. It’s a mystery the last time Ove spoke to Rune and he had no idea until Anita knocked on his door that he has Alzheimer’s. It turns out the evil man in the Skoda who can’t follow rules is there to take Rune into a home claiming that Anita no longer can care for him herself.
Ove knows what must be done and him and his new friends form a task force to keep Rune at home. He even finds it somewhere in his heart to forgive. Ove is not the same man who was ready and willing to die every day because he finally found other people to live for. What will become of Ove and his companions who brought him back to life? Read A Man Called Ove to find out!
Saying that I loved A Man Called Ove is a severe understatement and I think that every single person should read this book. There were no twists and turns in A Man Called Ove and it was very easy to see where the story was going. This was just fine with me because the book was about the journey more than the ending. The journey of a man who was ready to die that learned how to smile again thanks to people who he used to find bothersome.
There were plenty of parts in A Man Called Ove that made me incredibly sad, but so many more that were absolutely joyous. Maybe not in as boisterous of a way as the darling Parvaneh – just in a way that was simply Ove. This book was like a textbook of how Ove became who he is and you learn that he is not a bitter old man like people believe. He is a man who bad things happened to, a man who likes things just so, and a man who still has some fight in him yet.
Other than the evil man in the Skoda, you will be enamored with the zany cast of players who weave their way into Ove’s life. People who he never would have associated with before he began seeing the world differently. Each person sees Ove so very differently than he sees himself and through their infernal pestering, he learns to accept company from someone who isn’t Sonja. Ove still misses his beloved more than words can say, but his new friends and perspective gave him a new lease on life, which he rolled his eyes and took.
I couldn’t imagine awarding A Man Called Ove with anything less than ten out of ten stars. If you are late to the party on reading this book like I was, READ IT IMMEDIATELY. Now, I am all set to see A Man Called Otto with America’s sweetheart, Tom Hanks! 😀
What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah
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