What it’s about:
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.
I finished A Man Called Ove many months ago. I loved it. It stuck with me. Yet, I’m just getting around to writing my review. Foolishly, I read a few other reviews after reading the book in hopes that I would be inspired to verbalize how much I loved this book. I found many emotional reviews about Ove, grandfathers, and grumpy old men in general. They were touching reviews, and most expressed my exact feelings about the book. Now, even more months later, I’m sharing my abbreviated thoughts on the audiobook.
A Man Called Ove made me a Fredrik Backman fan. Since reading (actually listening to it), I have devoured Mr. Backman’s subsequent books. His writing is crisp, his characters draw you in, and his stories are like magic potions that make you feel the full array of emotions. Without being flowery, Backman paints a vivid story in his readers’ minds to which no movie could possible compare (that is all I will say about the Oscar nominated movie based on the book).
What about Ove? Are all those other reviewers are correct? He is grumpy, miserly, and rigid in his beliefs. If he lived next door to you, you’d probably detest him or at least avoid him. However as a character he is lovable, empathetic, charming, and unintentionally humorous. His blunt observations and crankiness got me. Just kidding, it was more his loneliness that tore me up. He is lonely for his late wife, and he is lonely for a life that made sense—one where everyone followed the rules and technology was not complicated.
Like Ove’s new neighbors, Ove became a part of my world. This well-written, engaging story made me laugh and cry. It is the sort of book that each reader will find poignant and meaningful in very unique and personal ways.
The story is brought to life by the excellent narration of George Newbern.