A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove reminds me of my dad.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove. Ove. Ove. Where do I begin?

This is a story of loneliness, of justified anger, of loss, and of the power of friendship and community. I love how initially we don't identify with Ove at all, for he is a grumpy old man who complains, is downright mean, and is annoyed by every nick and tick, even if it weren't on him.

The book begins with Ove preparing to end his life because he has lost his wife, and his job. Unluckily for him, he's interrupted by his new (very pregnant) neighbour Parvaneh and her husband who struggles to park the car, and which, obviously ticks him off. Throughout the book, every time Ove tries to end his life, his neighbour appears at his doorstep, either asking for help, or to thank him. Though unexpected, and brought together by circumstance and proximity, Parvaneh and Ove begin a friendship where Ove, unbeknownst to himself, plays the role of a father to Parvaneh.

I saw Ove transform from a stuck up, stoic, hard square who hated himself enough to attempt suicide, to a soft human who could give and receive love. The writer, Fredrik Backman has an incredible way of inducing laughter at the most tender, and insignificant moments too, striking a balance between extreme sorrow and unadulterated wonder.

I picked this book up because I was in a sad frame of mind and wanted a few laughs. Contrary to my expectation, it made me sadder, because it stoked a grief in me that doesn't exist yet. But I still loved it, because it reminded me that old grumpy curmudgeons do feel things, if only they're pried open a bit. I cried, laughed, and melted even when I wasn't ready for it. It reminded me so much of my dad, of his unshakeable belief in labour, of his ways of expression, of his disbelief in technology, and of his body, sculpted carefully over many years of physical toil.

This is a must read! 🌼