A Man Called Ove is a heart-warming book about a grumpy old man whose melancholic and monotonous life is turned upside when a new family move in next door. Ove begins to see that there may be some light when he thought his only light was gone.
The reason I picked up A Man Called Ove is similar to that for why I pick up a lot of books – I had seen a lot of good things about it, it looked like not a long commitment and I had the kindle version of it ready to go. I knew it was going to be a lighthearted read but I didn’t realise it was going to get me so damn emotional.
Plot – 4.5/5
A Man Called Ove tells the story of Ove. It slips between the story of how he met his wife and the modern-day. Ove is living his life the way he wants to live his life, he gets up at the same time every morning, goes for a walk and gets on with some duties around the house. He doesn’t like a lot of things but he does like structure and a certain number of things. You’ll find it very hard to change any of Ove’s opinions.
The plot isn’t going to blow any minds, it doesn’t have twists or incredible moments. However, every single moment tells perfectly of this utterly loveable character Ove. It’s a book built all around the characters and the witty and humorous writing of Fredrik Backman. Backman has written this book in the third person but tells it as though Ove is writing it with sarcastic remarks, disgruntled notes and a real dry sense of humour accentuating the storytelling.
I’ll put a warning here that this book will tug on your heartstrings. It will make you smile, laugh and it will almost certainly have you holding back tears a couple of times. The simple yet effective way Backman writes this adds such depth to an otherwise fairly regular story.
Characters – 5/5
A Man Called Ove is all about the wonderful and loveable characters that Backman has created. On the surface, no one in this book is the perfect hero. They all lose their temper, have laws and say mean things. But this is a novel about how people can be such loveable, likeable people without always being perfect and having the right moral compass.
Let’s talk specifically about Ove. Ove is our central character whose opinion we hear a lot of and whose story we follow. Ove doesn’t like a lot of things – he doesn’t like Volvos, he doesn’t like florists, he doesn’t really like cafes, he doesn’t like children, he doesn’t like people driving on the estate etc. But Ove loves his wife more than anything. She’s the only person who’s ever really understood him. On top of this grumpy, mean, lonely persona that Ove gives off he has very strict rules and morals and, most importantly, he has a kind heart and never likes to let down those who earn his respect. Ove himself will make you laugh a lot, smile a lot and cry a lot. He is a simple man who likes what he likes and doesn’t like what he doesn’t like but if you come into his life and give him a reason to love you, you’ll have earned his love for life. Ove is truly one of the great characters I’ve read this year.
Everyone else that comes into Ove’s life is engaging, kind, loveable, frustrating or important. Backman doesn’t introduce anyone for the sake of it, everybody has their part to play and has an influence on Ove’s outlook on life.
Summary – 5/5
I adored Ove and so I adored A Man Called Ove. There were moments in this book that really made me take a look at life, there were some lines about love and loss that you can’t help but get tingles from reading. Your heart will be warmed by Ove’s actions and the actions of those around him.
A Man Called Ove is one of those books that I’ll recommend to everyone. I can’t see anyone picking this up and not finding it funny and heartwarming.