A Man Called Ove: A Book for Everyone

Over the years I have read many books that take root in my mind and become a part of how I think. In those same years I have found very few books that plant a seed in my heart and become a part of who I am. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman reached out and taught me how to be a better man.

***

Ove is Ove. There is no better way to put it. After the death of his wife and being let go from his job of over a third of a century Ove has nothing to live for.

What follows is the heart touching account as Ove, the grouchiest man anyone has ever met, who looks at the world as if it’s full of idiots, discovers what he still has left to live for, and the community is forced to take a fresh look at the man they thought they had all figured out.

***

I heard so much hype about this book. People said it was the greatest book they had ever read, others that it was the best-written book they’ve read in years, as well as further praise. When I bought this book it was because I was trying to use a sale and needed to spend $50 at B&N to save $15, and this was the only book I could think of that I wanted. As soon as I got home I began to worry. What if it isn’t good? Why didn’t I buy any of the other countless books on my book list? I talked to my wife and she told me to shut up and read the book before I ruined it for myself. So I did.

To all those people out there who spoke highly of this book: thank you. It has been a long time since I read anything that I needed to read as much as this.

There are not many novels I would recommend to everyone. Certain books are wonderful but they don’t jump genre preferences, so they aren’t for everyone. A Man Called Ove is a book for everyone. It’s a book about the importance of principles, the difficulty of grief, and the value of loyalty. I expected to read a heartwarming novel about a grouch. Instead I read a life-changing book about a misunderstood man.

What was my favorite part of this book? I loved the analogies. “Ove looks at the book more of less as if it just sent him a chain letter insisting that the book was really a Nigerian prince who had a ‘very lucrative investment opportunity’ for Ove and now only needed Ove’s account number ‘to sort something out’.” From that description I can see exactly how he views the book without having to be told emotions, what his face looks like, or anything else. For a man who talks so little his expressions provide more than enough dialogue on their own.

I wish I had thought to highlight all these great analogies, but I guess that gives me a reason to read it again.

So again, thank you for those people who had positive things to say about A Man Called Ove. Without your praise I may never have picked up this book, and I may never have found another book to be added to the shelf of favorites.

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