In the neighborhood where he has lived for many years, Ove is known as a curmudgeon, a cranky old man, and someone around whom to tiptoe carefully. Watching his daily routines, though, one senses that there is much more to the man. He seems almost obsessive as he checks out the neighborhood, issuing warnings to people who are disobeying the rules of the home owners group.

But one can also see that Ove has a larger plan, one that he hopes to carry out…and soon. But something always stops him. Like the neighbors moving in and backing a trailer into his mailbox, or the pregnant neighbor needing a ride somewhere. Or a cat that needs looking after. Pulled more and more into the community, Ove doesn’t seem less cranky, necessarily, but certainly there is more going on with him.

Beneath the bursts of anger and the crankiness lies a story that we are told in bits and pieces until it all begins to make sense. And as we warm up to him, we find ourselves rooting for him and hoping that he decides not to carry out his larger plan.

I found the story slow going, but not because it wasn’t enjoyable. I could only manage it in short spurts, as I found myself feeling deep emotions and wanting to savor the experience. I enjoyed going back into Ove’s life and seeing how he developed the habits and values he owns. We see the sadness of various losses, and we want him to finally find peace and a sense of community.

A Man Called Ove is a character study and a story of community, of compassion, and of reaching out to those around us. A book I highly recommend. 5 stars.




Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I hope to read this week, but it’s been on Pippa since July 2015.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, is a feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand; it is about the angry old man next door, a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.








Ove is fifty-nine.

He drives a Saab.  He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s flashlight.  He stands at the counter of a shop where owners of Japanese cars come to purchase white cables.  Ove eyes the sales assistant for a long time before shaking a medium-sized white box at him.

“So this is one of those O-Pads, is it?” he demands.

The assistant, a young man with a single-digit body mass index, looks ill at ease.  He visibly struggles to control his urge to snatch the box out of Ove’s hand.

“Yes, exactly.  An iPad.  Do you think you could stop shaking it like that…?”

Ove gives the box a skeptical glance, as if it’s a highly dubious sort of box, a box that rides a scooter and wears tracksuit pants and just called Ove “my friend” before offering to sell him a watch.


Teaser:  She believed in destiny.  That all the roads you walk in life, in one way or another, “lead to what has been predetermined for you.”  Ove, of course, just started muttering under his breath and got very busy fiddling about with a screw or something whenever she started going on like this.  But he never disagreed with her.  (p. 71).


Synopsis:  Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.


What do you think?  Does this sound like a book you would keep reading?  I am hoping to be delighted by the curmudgeon that is Ove.