Book Review: A Man Called Ove


Credit to cover Artist

The cover for A Man Named Ove.

Mei Aguon, Reporter

Today I’m going to put the spotlight on one of my favorite authors, Fredrik Backman. I have read most of his major novels, including My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, and Beartown. My favorite part about Backman’s style is his ability to balance humor and serious topics.  A Man Called Ove is on the boundary between bittersweet and funny.

On the surface, Ove (“ooh-veh”) is your textbook persnickety old Swedish man who yells at Genius Bar employees and gripes about people parking in the residential area. Further under the surface, he is a lot like Carl from Up. He has no direction in his life after the loss of his wife, who provided him with just the right amount of spontaneity. Ove is not the kind of man to easily change by himself, and he loves his routine. However, he is forced to switch things up after a cheerful new family moves in next door and subsequently backs over his mailbox.

Then follows a bunch of antics as new friends magnetically attach themselves to Ove. All because he does something nice for them once. I like when Ove has to keep up his old-man facade around all these people he clearly cares about.

In this book, you will learn more about Ove’s past and what made him the way he is. This is not a tearjerker book the way My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is, but it still gets sad at times. If you like contemporaries where romance comes second, you will probably like it.

(An aside: One of the movie adaptations of this book is titled A Man Called Otto. Did they think people couldn’t learn how to pronounce Ove? Weird. Get any copy that is not the movie cover.)