Never have I ever read a book like “A Man Called Ove”. (It’s pronounced Oo-vah btw…you’re welcome.) The reason I know this is because I truly have never read a book like this…I listened to the audiobook version and that’s how the narrator pronounced Ove. If he’s wrong, I’m sorry, but that’s on him.
I’m not sure if it was hearing the characters voices (bravo to the narrator…he was ah-mazing) or that this book was truly something else, but this is probably the best book I’ve
read experienced in years. Honestly, I can’t even find anything bad to say about it.
Ove (okay, maybe he should have had a name that was a little easier to pronounce…there, that’s the only thing bad I can say about this book) is an old curmudgeon. Actually, he’s not really old, only 59. He’s basically just a curmudgeon.
What makes one a curmudgeon?
He’s ill tempered and set in his ways. He has preconceived notions about people and how things should be done. Ove does not understand technology, nor does he have any use for it. Ove cannot understand how a grown man can’t change a tire or back a trailer out of a driveway. And don’t get the guy started on people that drive BMWs.
He reminds me so much of my father in law that some of the interactions in the book literally had me roaring with laughter and repeating the lines to Hubby. I have never in my life appreciated the realism of such a character as much as I did with the character of Ove.
Was he always like this?
It seems that Ove has lived his life following “rules” and “principles” that were ingrained in him by his father at a young age. Ove has experienced more loss in his relatively short life than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime. Perhaps these tragedies have shaped Ove over the years, or perhaps Ove is the way he is because…well, because he’s Ove.
When people don’t follow the rules or live by the principles that Ove deems necessary, he gets agitated. And Ove is not one to hold back. Oh no, not at all. He’ll give you a piece of his mind whether you have asked for it or not. And most people do not.
Ove’s most recent loss has been that of his wife of 40 years, Sonia.
He misses her with an ache in his soul that he feels can never be soothed. He doesn’t want to live without her. And so, Ove sets out to kill himself like any self-respecting man who can’t stand to live without his wife would do.
What follows is several bumbling attempts to carry out his suicide plan throughout the novel. During these attempts (and yes, there are many) other characters are woven in and out, effectively sabotaging Ove’s plans left and right.
There’s the new neighbors, the pregnant foreign woman and the lanky one (named so by Ove) and their two daughters who take up an immense amount of Ove’s time. There are other neighbors who have been there for years. Ones that he has had a falling out with. And ones that he just doesn’t understand because of their car choices. There’s also people that end up in Ove’s life during this saga due to his recurrent failed suicide attempts. And then, there’s the cat.
It brings up the past as well
The reader also learns about Ove’s tragic life during this time and what may have shaped his current state of curmudgeon-ly-ness. Slowly but surely, one finds that one’s heart is melting for this not-so-old curmudgeon. And the same goes for the people in his life. Those people that he is doing everything in his power to dissuade from meddling in his life. Their hearts are being changed by Ove…and believe it or not, his heart just may be bigger than one expects.
I loved every minute of this book
The book was pieced together in such a way that it was just impossible not to love it—the humor, the characters, the chemistry between those insanely flawed characters. And the cat…oh my God, the cat. He was probably the best character in the book and I don’t even like cats!
I seriously did not want this book to end. And when it did, I admit, I bawled like a baby.
Check this book out…I dare say that you won’t be able to resist the charm of Ove…unless you are an old curmudgeon yourself.
Here’s the link to the paperback:
But I would really recommend listening to the audiobook: