Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
A Man Called Ove is a novel by Fredrick Backman; I have previously read Beartown also written by Backman, and absolutely loved it, so I was excited to read this. This book is about a man, called Ove, the life he leads, and how he got there. Grumpy, irritable, and just plain old mean, Ove is perhaps not exactly compelling when you first meet him. However, as the book progresses and you learn more about what kind of man Ove really is, Backman makes you question: would be the world actually be a better place, if more people perhaps had the same principles as him?
What was wonderful about Ove as a protagonist was that a lot of what he said was offensive and narrow-minded, and yet, falling in love with him was actually quite easy. The more time I spent with Ove, the easier was for me to see his perspective, and though it was not one I could empathise with, I understood it. Plus the plethora of characters in the book, not only give you alternative perspectives, but also bring the book’s world to life and increase its plausibility because you meet characters you feel could have been plucked straight from real life.
I just fell in love with this book every time I turned a page; Ove and Sonja’s love story warmed my heart the more I learnt about them, and with quotes like this: “People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.” anyone who enjoys romance would find it hard not to love them and their story.
My only criticism would be that Backman made Ove a 59-year-old man, and in my opinion, he acts more like a 69, or even 79-year-old. So I think it was a little unrealistic to have him this young as I don’t think it accurately represents real people that age, but if you don’t think about it too much, it doesn’t relay impede your ability to enjoy the story.
What’s brilliant about Backman’s book is that everyone knows an Ove; maybe not one quite as grumpy and belligerent, but someone who comes across as cold and unsympathetic, but underneath is a kind and loveable person. And that relatability is what makes this book so fantastic because in the end, we’re all a bit of Ove, but we’re also all a bit of Sonja, Parvaneh, Rune, Adrian, Mirsad, Jimmy, Anita, Patrick, and Anders too.