BOOK REVIEW: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publication: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 337.


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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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.


Once again audiobooks for the win.   I had this on my TBR shelf for a fairly long time.  I found the book at Goodwill for .99 so I thought that was a win for me. I had heard from my cousin that this book was really good so I was excited to read it, however, I was a bit nervous.  The last book I had read by this author for book club, I absolutely hated it.  Never got past like 15% and that is saying something, I always give books till 25% before I make my decision. So I went into the book with some trepidation.

****TRIGGER WARNING:  This book does contain suicidal thoughts/ideations and suicide attempts. If you have any of these thoughts please let someone know.  YOU MATTER*****

Ove (pronounced OOOOVVAAA, yes I have been saying it wrong for a long time) is lost.  His wife died 1.5 years ago.  He doesn’t know what to do with himself.  He is also a rule-following grumpy, cranky pants.  He takes his daily walks in the neighborhood, taking notes of various infractions and things of that sort.  He also wants to die, he can’t stand living without his wife, he is that lost.  Except for every single time he tries something thwarts his attempt.  Be it unruly but well-intentioned neighbors or the cat that he has somehow adopted.  Will Ove be able to find some happiness in his life and have the will to live?  I know you are thinking ummm Liz really?  But here me out, I haven’t laughed (yes, laughed) this hard reading a book in a long time.  The story while heavy was actually really funny.  I think some of that also came down to the narrator who was J.K Simmons.  I love his voice already but it just made the story come to life tenfold.  

I loved this story.  It was so good and had such a good message written between the lines.  I cannot wait for the movie to come out.  Tom Hanks honestly is the perfect person to play Ove.  The secondary characters are well-rounded and loveable.  They are the perfect balance for Ove’s personality.  The cat is the perfect partner for Ove.  Its something that he can love unconditionally and will love him back.  The ending with the cat, I will admit, had me sobbing although it seems that it doesn’t take much for me to cry when it comes to animals in stories.  The way the author wrote about a tough subject was sublime, she took something somewhat anxiety-inducing and created a storyline that you wanted to read.  I have already pressed my physical copy of this book into the hands of my friend and told my Aunt that she needs to read this book as well.  I may have also mentioned it to my bestie, and honestly will tell more people about it as well. Go, read this book.  I will probably read more books by this author as well.


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