Review: A man called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Scandinavian writers somehow know how to write a good book. At least, this is my experience, but I probably just read a small fraction of Scandinavian authors. Of course, they must be good in order for them to be translated into English or Dutch. Anyhow, I was very eager to read this one because I read so many positive reviews! Was it as good? Let’s find out!

Book cover

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?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

My first impression

My first chuckle was while reading the first page. Okay, this must be good! My first emotion was not long after. Wow, this book seems to be funny and emotional at the same time. A heartfelt read!

The story

Ove is a man set in his ways. He loves his routine and likes to complain about the world around him. However, soon you find out that there is more to him. He loves and misses his late wife. She was “the color” in his life. This love is endearing and feels very pure. He doesn’t really want to go on without her.

Ove didn’t have the easiest life, working from a young age and being betrayed multiple times. He handles it quite well by moving on, but the reader is left with feelings.

The main character Ove is withdrawn, until new neighbors move in. He learns he actually does not dislike the woman (Parvaneh) and the kids are okay too. The man remains a doofus in his eyes. Parvaneh challenges him to come out of the house, help others and live life. The friendship that unfolds is heartwarming.

The story is about life, love, loneliness, friendship, human connections and challenges.

My opinion

I simply love this book. I think it’s special that a book can make you laugh and nearly cry. The book touches your heart to the core!

The character Ove is developed well and throughout the story you grow more fond of him with every page you turn. Ove is the person you’d like have as your neighbor or grandfather. It is also endearing that Parvaneh encourages him to live, even if it irritates Ove in the beginning. Everyone needs a Parvaneh now and then.

Conclusion of A man called Ove

This book is amazing. It is hilarious, heartfelt and it makes you feel all the feelings. Moreover, the characters and the story are developed well and the writing is great. I would highly recommend this book! I am sure I will read it many more times. The story somehow really stays with you for a while. Perhaps because the book is deeply human.


Written by Roos Bergers