“To start- it’s a strong possibility you will CRY reading this book!!
It won’t be far into the book before you discover that Ove, the main character, is suicidal (that’s why I’ve rated “some violence” even though there truly isn’t). I almost hate to say it, but the way this book is written makes you root for Ove and his suicidal tendencies.. The poor man just wants to die, is that too much to ask?! It is witty, and satirical in the best of ways. At some points I feel as though Backman is beating you over the head with the fact Ove is a cantankerous old grump. However, he does a beautiful job writing this story and making us fall in love with Ove. Truly, it was wonderful.”
I gave this book 5/5 on Amazon review. Backman’s writing style is slightly different than I was used to… Then again, this is a book that was translated into English since Backman writes his stories in Swedish (his native language), so it would never be “perfect” English.
This story tells the tale of Ove- a grumpy old fart that lives alone in a house he has called home for years. He is a man of routine, and a man of principle. He has a strong distrust of all people, and thinks everyone a fool. After the death of his beloved wife, Ove decides there is no reason for him to continue on in the world. With each attempted suicide (yes, more than one), he is vexed by hiccups in his plans! And with each additional attempt, he finds that he is needed more and more within the world… in his mind, all the fools of Earth will be utterly lost without him there.
So, Backman writes this book so you feel extreme sympathy for Ove. Backman wants you to want Ove to die… talk about dark humor. Not only that, but you feel down right out bad for him each time he fails. CAN’T THIS DUDE CATCH A BREAK?
I think something that Backman did well in this book was that he is able to highlight the disenfranchised feelings that people can feel as they get older. Ove would never allow anyone to take away his abilities to drive, or to work, or would he allow anyone to stop him from sharing his opinions! Why would he not be allowed these freedoms when these imbeciles get to keep theirs?? He wants to off himself (not only because he is obviously depressed about the passing of his beloved wife) but because he is sick of the world treating him as it does. He fights to retain the freedoms he believes are rightfully his, and I can’t blame him.
Backman also does a swell job of proving how just a little amount of kindness from strangers can truly change someone’s (you pick- hour, day, night, month, year, life….) In all of Backman’s novels, he intertwines the character’s stories masterfully. Each character in this book directly relates to another. It’s an interesting puzzle on their street. Although I don’t want to give too much away, it’s clear that joining together for a good cause will bring good karma, always!
Seriously, this is just an all around heartwarming book to read. It hits on some serious topics, while keeping some humor (albeit dark humor). It reminds you the importance of neighborly love and of bonding with others. This is a book that I liked so well that I bought my own copy. I recommend it to anyone with the mental capacity to grasp, and appreciate, the somewhat heavy plot line.