Book Review: A Man Called Ove – by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove is the debut novel of the Swedish author Fredrick Backman. It is not surprising that this novel has become a number 1 best seller across Scandinavia since it is so warm and charming, and you just cannot help but fall in love with Ove (in a Grandad-ish sort of way.)

The novel is made up of short chapters, some set in the present and some going back to when Ove was growing up and his life with his wife. Ove is a some what grumpy old character, he doesn’t talk very much and when he does it is usually either something rude or a grunt. However, he is a man with principles. If there is one thing you can say about Ove it is that he is extremely moral. Despite his often less than pleasant language, Ove has a big heart and you will learn through the novel that he is quite irresistible.

A Man Called Ove is an easy to read novel that will make you laugh out loud in some places, and almost bring you to tears in others. By my short summary of the novel I think it is clear that I developed a soft spot for Ove throughout the book. To be honest, I don’t know who wouldn’t. But he wasn’t the only loveable character. His new neighbour, Parvaneh, was also charming; a real motherly woman who was not dissimilar to Ove. From her first appearance in the novel (when her useless husband drives his car into Ove’s letterbox) it was clear that she could see the real Ove. She very much had her own mind, was not afraid to say what she really thought to/ about Ove, and most importantly her kind nature helped Ove to finally feel something again after his heartbreak.

This novel is warm and funny and will make you think again about the importance of living, not just to be alive but to actually live. Whilst the novel is sad at times, there is also so much humour. Through these contrasting emotions Fredrick Backman reinforces the meaning of life and restores faith in man-kind.

As the story revolves around a loveable man called Ove, it is hard to be negative about the novel. Of course there are annoying characters who I would prefer didn’t exist, such as “Blonde Weed” and her “Mutt”, but as Ove is of this opinion too it doesn’t become a problem.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an uplifting read. I would give it 4 stars.

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