Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living.”

“…the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

A Man Called Ove is 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. (Goodreads)

This is the most funny and charming read of my year so far! I honestly can’t remember anything I didn’t like from this book. I came in prepared because it’s obviously a story meant to make you cry (you just know, right?). I also think the movie Up has already taught us all to expect a charming story behind the curmudgeons in our lives but I was still very much taken in by our main character.

I expected a lot of things from this book but the last thing I expected was to find it’s also a love story—and an intense one at that. Let’s look at these passages, shall we:

“He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”

“I just wanted to know what it felt like to be someone you look at.”

My heart!

Aside from the wonderful love story, the book also takes us along Ove’s difficult childhood and adolescent years as an orphan. I found myself teary eyed on a number of chapters and I wanted to hug Ove at least a dozen times. Hard work, honesty and integrity really shaped this good man’s fate.

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

The novel is mostly a humorous meditation on life and death, but equally important is its exploration of our inherent fear of old age: the greatest displacement one could ever feel. After reading this novel, you may want to call your parents and grandparents and tell them you love them. Better yet, visit them and give them a hug—you know you need it as much as they do. 🌸

Overall rating: 5/5

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