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A Man Called Ove: A Novel Hardcover – July 15, 2014
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*Starred Review* At 59, Ove is a grumble Gus of the first degree. Rules are made to be followed, signs are meant to be obeyed, and don’t even get him started about computers and mobile phones. In truth, Ove has been this way his whole life, but he’s gotten worse in the last four years since his wife, Sonia, died, taking with her all the color in a world Ove sees as black-and-white. Ove has decided life without Sonia is not worth living and plans to join her in the next world. But a young couple and their two children (a third is on the way) move in next door, his oldest friend and most feared enemy is about to be forcibly removed to a nursing home, and a street-scarred cat insinuates itself into his life. Suddenly, Ove’s suicide plans get delayed as he helps solve neighborly crises large and small. Though Ove’s dark mission mitigates any treacly upstaging by animals and small children, readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. If there was an award for Most Charming Book of the Year, this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down. --Carol Haggas
“A charming debut…You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. You’ll also want to move to Scandinavia, where everything’s cuter.” (People)
"A Man Called Ove is exquisite. The lyrical language is the confetti thrown liberally throughout this celebration-of-life story, adding sparkle and color to an already spectacular party. Backman's characters feel so authentic that readers will likely find analogues living in their own neighborhoods." (Shelf Awareness (starred review))
"Readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. If there was an award for 'Most Charming Book of the Year,' this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down." (Booklist, Starred Review)
“A funny crowd-pleaser that serves up laughs to accompany a thoughtful reflection on loss and love… The author writes with winning charm.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
“This charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers… hysterically funny… wry descriptions, excellent pacing… In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden,generous heart.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"There are characters who amuse us, and stories that touch us. But this character and his story do even more: A Man Called Ove makes us think about who we are and how we want to live our lives. A Man Called Ove seems deceptively simple at the start, yet Frederik Backman packs a lifetime's worth of hilarity and heartbreak into this novel. Even the most crusty curmudgeon will love Ove!" (Lois Leveen, author of Juliet's Nurse and The Secrets of Mary Bowser)
“One of the most moving novels I have read this year. I defy anyone to read this book and look at a quiet withdrawn person the same way ever again.” (Cayacosta Reviews)
“[T]he revelations about his past are what make the story so endearing. Suffice it to say that along with the characters in the story, who come to discover that Ove is more than just the grumpy old man they first met, the reader is in for an enjoyable ride. A Man Called Ove reminds us that even the most difficult people have a back story that helps explain their current way of interacting- and perhaps, reveals the positive side of those qualities.” (eMissourian.com)
"If you have not heard of this author, Fredrik Backman, you are in for a major treat. Major.” (Dunn County News)
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Top Customer Reviews
I will admit that I am entirely on the Ove train!
The book is about a man, named Ove, who is the angry neighbor that we all seem to have. He complains about everything, has put up signs around his neighborhood with rules about what should and shouldn't be done, and feels there is a proper place for everything. He is not a friendly guy to say the least.
Into his life walks or rather drives a family who are to be his new neighbors. He doesn't bother to get to know their names and calls them the pregnant one and the lanky one. After an accident with the lanky one, Ove is forced to help this family, complaining the entire time.
Throughout the book Ove also speaks to his wife, complaining about the neighbors, the rule breakers, and how much he misses her (very minor spoiler). During interludes within the narrative, we read about how Ove became Ove. I will say by the end of the book, a bunch of dust was flying around the room and some got into my eyes.
The first thing to write is this book is funny. Ove is quite the character and how he treats people is hysterical. He just doesn't care what he says or how he says it. He simply wants order in his world and has lived that way for all of his life. The way he expresses himself becomes incredibly funny.
It is also a tragic story. Backman interweaves the two (funny and tragic) quite well and doesn't make it overly heartwarming. This could have easily become a book with the sentiment that we don't know people's past, so don't judge them, but it isn't. Ove is an ass in his past too and sometimes with reason. Backman keeps it level with just enough to make the reader fall for Ove.
The great thing is this is a book that pretty much anyone and everyone can (and will) enjoy. I recommended this one for book clubs and discussion groups. Grandmas will like this as well as middle aged men. Ove is simply a good book.
I gave this one 5 stars.