Book Reviews · My Recommendations

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman | Book Review

Genre: YA / Contemporary Fiction|Written by: Fredrik Backman |Pages: 337 |Publication: Atria Books / Hachette India |Book Type: Standalone

My Rating: 5 stars

Blurb at the back of the Book:

Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – joggers, neighbor’s who can’t reverse a trailer properly and shop assistants who talk in code.

But isn’t it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be and a lifelong dedication to ,making it just so?

In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…

Main Characters in the Book:

Main Protagonist: Ove: The main character around whom the book revolves; Sonja: Ove’s wife, Parvaneh: Ove’s Irish Neighbor.

Some Notable Side Characters: Patrick: Parvaneh’s Husband; Rune: Ove’s Best friend from the colony: Anita: Rune’s wife; Lena: The reporter who took Ove’s Interview and helped them save Rune.

TW: Suicide, Bullying.

My Thoughts:

On the Characters:

Okay, so, I am going to be all raw here with my emotions. First of all, I am saying this with a guarantee that OVE is someone we all need in our lives. He is hands down one amazing characters ever written. I completely adore the story. I have frowned, laughed, cried, adored and hugged this book all the while I was reading it!

Ove is a gentleman in his late 50’s and is tired with his life. He trusts his instincts and strictly abides by rules. He has a routine and follows it religiously. He loves his country and has beliefs that he will use things produced in his country. He drives a Saab, even though he has purchased a car every three years; they have been simply a variant of the previous one he had, nothing new and fancy. He sees the world I either black or white, and goes by the principles he has. But, he is not living just surviving. He has no one to live for. Even though he is desperately trying to find ways to unite with his one and only love but, life is cruel. It tests him again and again, and that is the journey which makes the readers realise that we all have a little OVE inside us. Sonja his wife is a phenomenal character. She accepts everything of a person that Ove is. And, Ove loves her immensely. At a point in the book Sonja asks Ove to love her twice as much as he loves her now – and Ove silently thinks – it is not possible to love her any more than he already did.

And, it is not only Ove who loves Sonja; the way Sonja loves Ove is exceptional. Let me be honest, loving Ove can be a bit at times because of his relentless cribbing for following procedures and for things to be in a certain way. But, she knows exactly what to talk to him, when to hug him and when to ask him to stop. And, to me this is really important. She says “people like Ove needs certain things to break at a regular interval so that they have something to fix” – this line will always have my heart because, understanding someone at this level – is not found these days. But, Fredrik Backman writing about this hits me hard. Later comes a character Parvaneh – oh god, I have no words for her, the way she cares for Ove. I felt like Fredrik Backman actually described the readers of this book as a character and that character is – PARVANEH. I felt myself in the shoes of Parvaneh all the time. Whatever she was doing is exactly what I would have done at that time.

Humor and Emotions in the Book:

At certain points in the book, especially at the mention of Ove and Rune’s friendship – the author has tried to insert certain fun jocular elements to keep the book light and fun. Also, when the cat living near Ove’s house encounters Ove and does defy all his instructions those part did make me laugh the most,

Parvaneh and Ove’s relationship even though they were neighbors but was that of a father-daughter’s relationship. I loved how their relationship arc developed in the book.

My Feelings after finishing the Book:

All I want to say is Fredrik Backman, is an amazingly talented individual. I had never tried Literary Fiction before, but he changed the world for me. I never thought I could fall in love with these kind of characters but, I truly am. At a point of time Backman says – Love is a strange thing, it takes you by surprise. And, yes, I am surprised because I am in love – with OVE. The story starts with OVE fidgeting in an Apple Store to get an i-Pad, and it seemed to me a little out of context. If you are reading the book for the first time – I will say “wait for it” that chapter is the one which will make you cry in the end. The way the story unfurls, has me mesmerized till now.

I would just like to say you – it does not matter if you do not like the cover of the book, fonts of the book or the name of the book – IDGAF – JUST READ IT ONCE. Because I know for a FACT that you NEED IT.

Quotes that I loved:

  • “To love someone is like moving into a house,” Sonja used to say. “At first you fall in love in everything new, you wonder every morning that this is one’s own, as if they are afraid that someone will suddenly come tumbling through the door and say that there has been a serious mistake and that it simply was not meant to would live so fine. But as the years go by, the facade worn, the wood cracks here and there, and you start to love this house not so much for all the ways it is perfect in that for all the ways it is not. You become familiar with all its nooks and crannies. How to avoid that the key gets stuck in the lock if it is cold outside. Which floorboards have some give when you step on them, and exactly how to open the doors for them not to creak. That’s it, all the little secrets that make it your home.”
  • “You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away.”
  • “He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”
  • “We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”
  • “They never had much, but they always had enough.”
  • “Because this was what Ove had learned: if one didn’t have anything to say, one had to find something to ask. If there was one thing that made people forget to dislike one, it was when they were given the opportunity to talk about themselves.”

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