A few months ago I was strolling through the bookstore when a certain book spine caught my eye, a faded navy blue color, almost like ash, with the title, “A MAN CALLED OVE,” written with all capital letters, but not in a threatening way as one might think. I pulled it from its place on the shelf, read the description on the back, bought it, and set it on my bookshelf at home to be forgotten, until just a couple of weeks ago. I was once again in the bookstore and another book caught my eye and after reading the back of this one, I realized I’d already bought a book by that same author, so I decided to make reading “Ove” a priority since the spines of this author’s books obviously speak to me. I’d been trying to read “A Game of Thrones” but it’s been dragging lately and I needed a break, a lighthearted read that didn’t have a million different characters and storylines to keep up with.
Thursday afternoon I began reading “A MAN CALLED OVE” and by the same time on Friday I was finished. Although I did a few times, this book was one that I literally didn’t want to put down. The words flowed simply and naturally off the page, immersing me in the of Ove and the residents of his neighborhood. Author Fredrik Backman captures the way that society might view someone, contrasted to the way a person might perceive himself, and shows that perhaps even under a hardened exterior, there is a little good in all of us. If the main character would be given a cliche, it would be that of not judging a book by it’s cover, and while that sounds lame and like numerous characters you’ve read about before, I guarantee you’ve never met anyone in the literary world quite like Ove. This book had the potential to be very depressing and sad, containing many themes that I’ve failed to see other writers pen in such a lighthearted way, and even though those themes are present, they take an immediate backseat to things that are currently happening in the lives of the neighborhood residents.
I honestly can’t recommend “A MAN CALLED OVE” enough, and would strongly encourage everyone to go out and get a copy, but don’t stop there. Christmas is coming up in a week and it would make the perfect gift if you still have some shopping to do. No matter the reader, “Ove” is not discriminatory about age and is a book that can be read by anyone middle school and up. I think we can all relate to the main character in that Ove only wants to be left alone, in peace, but this novel teaches a valuable lesson by showing the innumerable joys that can come from opening your life and your heart to those around you. If you are looking for a fast paced book that will have you sitting by the lamp, late into the night, desperate to find out how the story ends, then you need to head to the bookstore and get a copy of “A MAN CALLED OVE” today. I’m giving it a perfect 5 out of 5 rating, but if I could rate it any higher, I absolutely would.