A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
337 pages
3 Stars

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

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.

I had heard a lot of good things about this book. I am part of Facebook Book Club where many other members highly recommended A Man Called Ove. I had been looking forward to reading it and finally got my hands on a copy at the library. With a three star review, you can guess I was a little disappointed. The book’s opening scene is Ove yelling at a customer service employee. We find out very early on that he’s a miserable old coot and I was under the impression that eventually, he has a change of heart.

Throughout the entire book we find that not only is Ove miserable, but he goes out of his way to make others miserable. The story alternates between flashbacks and Ove’s past, to the present story. His backstory does explain why and how he has become terribly unhappy. Suffice it to say, Ove didn’t really have an easy life. Regardless of his troubled past, I still felt it was unnecessary to project his despondency upon others.

There were several parts that I found myself laughing or feeling touched by Ove’s behavior, but his negative attitude and demeanor overshadowed the few decent actions he performed, in my opinion. Maybe I’m just a cynic.

Have you read it? Let me know what you thought in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
-V

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