I knew I’d love A Man Called Ove because I love cranky old men, perhaps that’s why I married one. 😉 I wish there were more people like Ove in the world. Maybe that sounds strange if you’ve read this book, but I firmly believe things would be better than they are today with more characters like him. This story reminded me of one of my favorite movies, St. Vincent, featuring another curmudgeonly old man. For me these stories are so much deeper than most. They get to the heart of the people involved, to understand the circumstances that made them who they are.
Ove’s story, a mix of past and present times, is a look into the simple life of a man who worked hard, loved his wife, lived his life, and took care of business. In the present, Ove comes across as a grouchy, sometimes angry man, just waiting for someone to make a mistake for him to correct. He is set in his ways and not about to change for the world or anyone’s expectations. When Ove’s mailbox is flattened by his young, new neighbors, readers are led on an unexpected and heartwarming journey.
With all of the high reviews of Fredrik Bachman’s work, I suspected his books would be right up my alley, but had yet to give them the try they deserved. Finally, when A Man Called Ove became available on Overdrive through my library, I was anxious to read this story. I think this book was the perfect place to start and quickly moved into the spot of one of my favorite reads of this year.
“One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories, perhaps.”
In our society, we often overlook the elderly as outdated or out of touch with our fast-paced way of life. While reading, I kept wishing we could place more value on the wisdom our elders could share with us. They have been through the things we often face, after all. Someday we too will be advanced in age and struggling to identify with the ways the world has changed. Sometimes, I think many of us will wish we would have respected the voices of the aging in our lives during our own youth. A Man Called Ove gives a great look into some of the things we may struggle with as our ages advance and how even in a world determined to go “out with the old and in with the new,” we can still find a meaningful place to belong. Sometimes in the most unexpected of circumstances.
“This was a world where one became outdated before one’s time was up.”
I hope if you’ve yet to read this book, you’ll consider picking it up. It has just the right amounts of depth, humor, and love. Simply, it touched my heart in all the right places.
P.S. Has anyone watched the movie adaptation? How did it compare for you?