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A Man Called Ove

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September 2018 – Book of the Month

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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This book has a Reading Room Rating of 4.8 stars!

A Man Called Ove

So when I started this book and read the first chapter I thought oh no this is going to be absolutely terrible. How wrong could one be! This has been my favourite read of the year so far: I LOVED it! I laughed out loud in parts chuckled in others but this juxtaposed a few tears and downright sobbing at the end. I grew to love Ove over the course of the book and found it truly heartwarming. It was a beautiful book about not fitting in in a conventional way but actually being an essential part of a community with a desire underlying everything of trying to do the right thing. He took everyone at face value and judged them by their actions rather than by any other characteristic eg sexual orientation, money, power. I particularly liked the interaction with the young lad in the cafe and the fact he didn’t care about his sexual orientation. Overall a fabulous book I’m recommending to all my friends and family. I hope his other books are just as good.
Catherine, Reading Room Member

Like you Catherine Byrne, groaned at the first few pages. My husband had read it and recommended it and I thought... ok it’s a bloke’s book. How wrong. A lovely lovely book. Made me smile and made me sad. Such good writing. I read it a while ago, and have seen the film - book is so much better (as they usually are!). I’ve read others by this author - equally good! Definitely 5 stars and would recommend other books written by this author!
Ginny, Reading Room Member

When I began reading A Man Called Ove, I thought what a clever tale of an angry old man. The kind that believes rules and regulations are of utmost importance, that sees the world filled with stupid people, and is always right. The way the author describes him and his actions are hilarious, as I have known a few Oves myself. They have their principles! The only person Ove had and loved dearly, was his wife, Sonja. She has just passed away, and all Ove wants to do is kill himself, but gets interrupted. Would give it 5 stars I have also read this author’s other books.
Chand, Reading Room Member

I was so glad when this book got picked as I read it a couple of years ago in my school mums book club and we all rated it so highly and it still remains the best book our club has read. I love the character of Ove. He is so grumpy and miserable at the start but the book unveils so much of his history why his personality is like it is. I love the way that you come to understand that he really has a heart and has been through such personal tragedy but the new neighbours and friends he meets give him hope to live on. I love the way this book makes you laugh and cry and fell sadness and happiness when turning the pages. Its 5 stars from me. I have watched the film and loved that too
Vicky, Reading Room Member

Ove is your stereotypical grumpy old man with unwavering “Principles” and the strongest sense of right and wrong, he can’t help himself when he has a point to prove or a case to fight. All this gets him into some sticky situations to which Fredrik Backman’s quirky style of writing brings humour and wit. However, life has not treated Ove kindly and as we step back in time to his humble beginnings and learn what moulded a man called Ove…in the present, the neighbourhood is Ove’s concern, he is his own neighbourhood watch patrolling the estate ensuring that standards are upheld but when his new neighbours move standards start to slide downhill quite speedily.
Ove is on a mission, planning every detail of his own suicide only to be interrupted at every attempt by people needing his assistance. I think ultimately people respect Ove’s for his convictions, his knowledge and no nonsense approach. There are few people Ove allows to break down those barriers and see his softer side and whether he likes it or not, Ove’s destined to make friends. In the end Ove learns that he is wanted and indeed loved for himself.
This is not the sort of genre I usually read, however I found myself laughing and crying and getting involved with the characters. I would say the story is a tad far-fetched but then what book isn’t. If you are a fan of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I think you will enjoy this book. So it’s a 4 out 5 from me but I wouldn’t rush to read another of Fredrik Backman’s books.
Rose, Reading Room Member

I read A man called Ove about two years ago and very much enjoyed it then. When the chance came to reread it again I was therefore pretty pleased. I must say it is even better than I remember. Ove is so grumpy, but in ways that make a lot of sense. He likes a sense of order, loves numbers and finds various social interactions difficult. I guess you could almost medically diagnose him if you wanted to fit him into a category. However, he is so much more than that. He makes and repairs objects for people, both neighbours and strangers - because he can. Ove cannot stand dishonesty and burocracy, as brought out by the Social Worker/Rune situation. He hates clowns trying to trick him...but is tolerant of the cat and the ‘bender’. What a wonderful and full book. Oh yes.... even the chapter headings are amusing. This is undoubtedly my number 1 book within my top ten list.
Jackie, Reading Room Member

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