29 June, 2015

Review: A Man Called Ove

From GoodreadsIn this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, 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.
A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fryand Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Fredrik Backman's novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

Thoughts: I decided to get this on the advice of a good friend.  She had said it was a great book and by the end had her sobbing. I love a good cry, so when looking for a new audio, I downloaded this.
Ove (pronounced Oover, to rhyme with hoover or mover) really appears to be a sad, bitter old man. As far as he is concerned, the only correct way to do things is his way and truly can't understand why everyone cannot see it like him.
I will admit, to start with, it's hard to like Ove. I've lived in housing complexes with people similar to him and they are very difficult to deal with at times. Lord forbid you park your car in the wrong place, or leave a bike where it shouldn't be left - there are no reasons or excuses to placate them. However, as the author starts to expose us to the back story of Ove, we start to see why he is like the way he is. While I won't say I ever really warmed to him, I did have a certain admiration and a bit of a soft spot for him in the end. And there were times I thought he was quite justified in being annoyed with people. In particular, I found Pavarna quite pushy and at times rude. I mean who tells a new neighbour, who you have only known a week or so that they have to drive you and your children to the hospital. Ask, yes; tell, no.
A Man Called Ove is a book about love, loss, rules and community. It's about the importance of letting go and learning to bend a little. It's a truly beautiful book and well worth your time.

A Man Called Ove gets 4 stars

*        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing