A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman

I mightn’t have read this book if it wasn’t chosen for my RL book club, even though it had been in my radar. Everyone loves it and I can see why; it’s a bitter/sweet story about a lonely old man who has been unhappy since the death of his wife. He is the archetypal grump who only like’s things does his way. Essentially Ove likes to be in control/ to relinquish it is near-catastrophic for him. This is evidenced by the fact that he's driven the same brand of car throughout his entire life!


One of the chief reasons the book is so popular is because Ove is portrayed as so endearing. His pernickety behaviour, which would have been frustrating in real life, was humours on the page. But everything that made Ove infuriating dissolved in the readers mind when they learnt about his relationship with his dead wife.


What made this book work so well was the juxtaposition between Ove the cantankerous old man who disliked just about everyone and Ove the man who dearly missed his wife. Pairing up these two opposites brought the character to life and made his plight human and relatable. The message that underpinned the novel, that relationships are central to life, was yet another reason this book was so well received. I also believe relationships are vital to sustain happiness, so appreciated this.


Another thing I liked was the significance the novel gave to neighbours. Nowadays neighbours don’t have the importance they once had, so it was nice to see them being given the spotlight.


The reason I haven’t rated it higher is because even though I sympathised with Ove and related to his plight, I found him hard to connect with outside of that. Another thing is the writing style. It was mostly third-person limited, but sometimes it changed to third-person omniscient. This jarred me and took me out of the story.