Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

After finishing several audiobooks, I had gotten used to "reading" while accomplishing some other task. So it took several weeks for me to actually read this book, which was a Christmas gift. How time-consuming to SIT DOWN and READ an ACTUAL book...Could I truly devote ALL my attention to it? I was afraid I wouldn't get the kitchen cleaned or my email checked or God knows what else if I just READ the book myself. Oh no, is this what kids these days think about books? *high fives myself for bridging a generational gap*

Speaking of kids these days, Ove is the kind of curmudgeonly old man who would say exactly that. He yells at people and calls them names, never mind the people he DOESN'T like. But he saves his deepest ire for anyone who ignores the no driving sign between the row houses in his neighborhood. He is the sort of man who doesn't understand idle chatter, who judges another man by the car he drives, and whose (albeit reluctant) willingness to fix your radiator is a sign of his ability to tolerate you.

Mild spoilers ahead, but nothing that isn't revealed in the movie's trailer...

Ove's wife has died and so Ove doesn't see fit to live himself. But things keep getting in the way of his...attempts. Nosy neighbors, broken furniture, kids to yell at, that kind of thing. And in the story of the end of his story, we learn how he became mortal enemies with his former friend and neighbor, how he met his wife, how he got a cat he didn't want, as well as some back story on some neighbors.

A Man Called Ove is about the ups and downs that make up daily life. For such a simple premise, you'll want to keep reading nonetheless. I hate to call it a "feel-good" book, but that's kinda how it made me feel. And while it might not make you full on ugly cry, you may have to squeeze back a tear or two in moments both happy and sad. And besides all that, it makes you look at grumpy old men in a whole new way. And who doesn't need a little helping hand to bridge that generational gap, amirite?

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