Hello! It’s Connor, and today I’m going to be doing a book review on “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman. And Fredrik Backman is becoming one of my favorite authors ever, so I definitely wanted to do this review for you guys. A Man Called Ove follows a very cantankerous, cranky old man that’s living in a suburb of Sweden alone in his house. He’s lost his will to live, and so this has possibly some trigger warnings for suicide. Ove is a very specific type of person. He is described in the book as being born in the wrong time period, and I definitely agree with that. He’s very old-fashioned. He just wants to live a very simple, practical life, and he doesn’t want all of these extravagant things that other people seem to be wanting. He doesn’t really care too much about technological advances. He just wants to live his life and not have to interact with very many people at all. He’s one of those people that judges people for the type of car that they drive because he thinks that this one specific type of car named Saab is the best company of cars around, and he judges people for not driving those type of cars. Ove’s also very frugal. He keeps his money. He saves things. He doesn’t like to pay for people to do stuff. He’d rather do it himself. He also has borderline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I’m having a hard time describing this book because I don’t want to spoil too many things, so let me try. The story really begins when Ove has a run-in with some new neighbors of his. They have been driving in a no-driving section, and he has to tell them what he thinks about that. And then it just follows him interacting with all of these neighbors that are not following the rules, and he has to deal with and teach the proper ways of going about doing things. As you guys know, we’re going to go through my pros and my cons, and then I’ll give you my rating for the book. And then I’ll talk about the movie. My first pro is he talks about a pass storyline that throughout the course of the novel ends up meeting up with the beginning of where the book starts. And then there’s another storyline that goes in the future, and so we follow Ove in two different time periods of his life. And its really nice and easy to see which one you’re in because the titles are labeled as such. So “A Man Called Ove” is the present tense and then “A Man Who Was Ove” is the past tense. And it starts off with him being much younger, a child, and then it follows his life until you get to the beginning of this book. And for me I really like when those things are happening in a book where you get these two different storylines and they overlap in different ways throughout the story. So really like that! I also really loved Ove’s neighbors. I thought they were so funny and the interactions that Ove has with his neighbors are so funny because while reading this book I could see those things happening so vividly in my mind because everyone has bad neighbors that they have interacted with every once in awhile. And so seeing him having to deal with bad neighbors over and over and over again is so funny to me, and I really enjoyed seeing how he dealt with all of these different people that he has problems with in different ways.

This book is written in third person close which means that you get all of Ove’s thoughts and feelings, but it’s written in third person. So it says, “Ove walked down the street,” and so I think that’s something that’s really interesting that I loved about this book was that all of the neighbors are given descriptions. And he calls the neighbors by their descriptions. He doesn’t call his neighbors by their names because he doesn’t care enough to learn them. And so at the beginning of the book it’s only descriptors, and as the book goes along, the names start to trickle in. So it’s really interesting to see when the names are used and when the descriptors are used in different situations because you can definitely tell how Ove was feeling about his neighbors at certain times. So I really love that, and that was a very subtle thing that I thought was brilliant. And my last pro for this book, okay not my last bro but the last one I’m going to talk about is going to be that it touches on some important issues. It talks about aging, and it talks about disability and how difficult it was for people that were disabled to get through life when people wouldn’t accommodate for them. I don’t wanna go into more detail other than that, but it definitely promotes how it’s so important to respect older generations and it’s important for older generations to respect younger generations. It’s just one of those things that it needs to be a back-and-forth, mutual respect, again, that everyone just needs to treat everyone as human beings and to understand where people are coming from. And they shouldn’t jump to conclusions, and they shouldn’t take advantage of people because they may not be as knowledgeable in something that someone else. So don’t take advantage of someone that is of an older generation because they don’t take to technology as quickly as a younger generation would. So I really like seeing the older generations and the younger generations interacting and seeing that message of mutual respect. I wrote a list of things to talk about. Apparently I only had one con. My one con for this book is going to be that it took me a very long time to be “team Ove”. Like, I was just like, “Ugh, this man is so annoying!” I did not like him, so I didn’t love him straight off the bat like I have for some of his other books. It took me a while to warm up to Ove because he does have a very strong personality and it’s hard for me to get into the head space of someone like that. That’s not willing to listen to other people and has a very strict way of doing things. It took me awhile to get on his side, but once I did, I was totally team Ove. I was like, “You go! You go, old man. I love you!” Another thing that you just might want to know which wasn’t a con for me at all, but this book is a lot more slow-moving, I feel, than some of the other books that I’ve read by him. But I think that the story benefits from that slow-moving nature, and I think that the story is well done with exploring all of those things methodically and seeing those things change gradually as the novel goes along. I don’t know if I’m making any sense. Another thing about this book that you might want to know is that it’s originally written in Swedish, and then it’s translated by Henning Koch whom translates all his books. I really enjoy Henning Koch’s translation. I’m not sure how the Swedish compares. I’ve heard it’s still amazing, so I think that he’s doing a really good job of translating it. And I can’t even tell that it’s translated at all besides the fact that Ove is obsessed with Saab cars because I think that’s the Swedish thing. But because of all of those pros and just some of those cons that, I had ended up giving this book four stars which is less than any of the other books that I’ve read by him, but this book is absolutely fantastic! I just love Fredrik Backman’s writing. I definitely recommend this book.

“A Man Called Ove” Top 5 quotes:

“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. ”
– Fredrik Backman , A Man Called Ove

“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. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. 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.”
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.”
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

“She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.”
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove