As I was packing up my stuff and heading home after a weekend at my parents house, I asked my mum for a book to read on the plane. Naturally she came out with a pile (my mum is the most book crazy person you’ll meet) and asked if I wanted something scary or something funny … “or this one is just a really nice book”.
That is the best way I can describe A Man Called Ove. Simply, a really nice book.
Admittedly, I have a huge soft spot for old people, so I fell absolutely in love with Ove as a character. On the surface he is quite grumpy, a bit of a recluse and very socially awkward but as you jump between his present and past you learn a lot about what makes Ove who he is.
Learning more about a rough family start and lot of heartbreak & loneliness starts to pull at the heartstrings a little and makes Ove a very loveable character. Whilst the outside still seems a little stoney, you know his heart is always in the right place.
The arrival of new next-door neighbours throws an immediate spanner in Oves carefully thought out life plan. He soon meets his match in Parvaneh, the pint-sized, heavily-pregnant and stubborn neighbour who has just moved in with her husband and two small daughters. Breaking down his walls piece by piece she refuses to take any of his ‘nos’ as an answer.
Following are many endearing moments that open your eyes to Oves – literally – oversized heart. His interactions with Parvanehs two small girls, adoption of a bunch of misfits in to his home and a reunion with an old friend make a story of sweet innocence bound together with a worn leather cover.
Backman has that rare ability of creating a friend within the pages that by the end you truly care about. A story that you can’t put down but at the same time don’t want to end. PSA: Grab a box of tissues at the end!
Let me know what you think…