Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

I'll confess and tell you that the only reason I got this one, well two reasons, is because it is talked about a LOT and this kind of reminds me of my dad. So I had to get it.

A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

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 won't write out the entire synopsis of the book but instead I'm going to just tell you what I liked, and didn't like, about it.

First off, I kind of loved Ove.  He's not an immediately likable character but after awhile you recognize him as your grouchy neighbor. The guy who is very specific about his order at the restaurant. He's the guy who doesn't understands the gadgets he buys and you wonder why he even bought them in the first place. He's the guy who is insufferably slow on the road who will follow the law of the road to the precise letter, no deviation. He can't stand the younger generation and their lazy ways and he's not afraid to tell them that. He's basically every awful, mean, old guy you have ever encountered. That's Ove. But even still, as you read the story and you find out why he is that way, what his life was like, you start to see his point of view and you think maybe the world ought to respect him more. Be a little more grateful for a guy like Ove. Of course in the fast paced world we're in, that won't happen.

It's safe to say the character development throughout this book is spot on. If you need to have an example on how you development a character from a faint idea and just build all of these layers onto it to turn a reader's thoughts completely around by the end? This is the book to use as the example. It's really fantastic.


My number one complaint is this isn't a fast read. I put this book down so many times because it just didn't hold my interest and I often wondered when the heck it was going to get interesting. A couple of times it would seem like we're really getting towards a pivotal moment, you've got this build up and you're already having feelings about it, and then poof. It fizzles out faster than it began and you are left feeling frustrated. Needless to say, this book took me forever to read. I started this in October and it's what? February. That's how long it took me to get through this. But once I finished it, oddly enough, I was pretty glad I stuck with it and I'm left feeling charmed by this book.


No comments: