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April 21, 2016

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove

By: Fredrik Backman

This is the story of a grumpy old Swedish man who is retired from his job, is mourning the death of his spouse, and who is trying to commit suicide. Now, before you say that this is all too depressing and I don’t want to go there, please know that this is a delightful read! Ove is an opinionated curmudgeon, yes, but turns outs there is much to admire about him. His story is told in alternating chapters—a bleak set of circumstances proving that he comes by his grumpy nature honestly. He is revealed as an honorable man, highly principled, responsible, dependable, generous, and, in his own way, lovable. His solitary life begins to change as he reluctantly becomes involved with the friendly young couple and their young daughters who move in next door to him. Events are set in motion that pull Ove more and more into the life of his neighborhood and the ways of a changing world. His attempts to kill himself are constantly thwarted, first by his new pregnant new neighbor, then by her clumsy husband, and by the wife of Ove’s former best friend, and by his overweight neighbor, and by the mailman, and finally by a mangy cat. Ove must keep postponing his suicide, and, as time passes, these characters weave themselves into his life, giving the opportunity to reconsider his choice. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of Ove’ life, this book is funny and uplifting. (Think of the Disney animated feature “Up.”) Many will find Ove’s inability to suffer fools gladly relatable (e.g. his exchange with the clerk in the computer store,) and all will find this Man Called Ove a charmer.

Also by Fredrik Backman: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (2013.)

A film Version of Man Called Ove (En Man Som Heter Ove) was released in 2015 and is available on streaming sites such as YouTube.

Review By: Donna LeFeber