“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?”
Author: Fredrik Backman
Genre: Contemporary, humor
Year: 2014 (1º published 2012)
Publisher: Atria Books
Oh, Ove, you grumpy old sweetheart!
We start Ove’s story with a light-hearted, funny tone but it doesn’t take long for this old man’s backstory to hit you right where it hurts. It’s not a dramatic and sentimental type of novel, but as you get to know more and more of Ove’s past, his experiences, his beliefs, the people he loves and those that he’ll come to at least appreciate… the light humorous style of the narrator cannot keep you from relating and empathising with him.
Ove has grown up practically on his own. He has learned to rely only on himself, and he has lived his life in that way up until the present day. But there was a moment in his life that shook his world to the very foundation. This moment, or rather, this person, will make him take a train he’s not meant to be in for three months or relentlessly fight the men in white shirts through all of his life, just to name a few.
“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”
Ove’s and Sonja’s relationship is one of the purest, most heartfelt forms of love I’ve ever found depicted in a novel. I think they are the kind of relationship everyone should aim from. And what happens when the one thing that made you fight against men in white shirts, the only thing that made you want to keep waking up, day after day, even if it were just to go through all your perfectionist rituals and habits?
All roads lead to something you were always predestined to do. And for her, perhaps, it was something.
But for Ove it was someone.”
What happens is that annoying new neighbors, old friends turned into enemies, and nosey strangers will start popping into your life and will force you to find that spark (even if it comes from your hatred toward said men in white shirts) to fight back and keep living.
As the story progresses, Ove is still the same grumpy Ove with principles of steel, but and Ove that has gone from complaining about iPads, people driving where they’re not supposed to and that no one lets him get over with his life to complaining about iPads and people driving where they’re not supposed to in general. He is just an old man with a heart too big for his chest (pun intended).
Funny, moving and very real story that will keep you hooked from the very beginning.