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OK –This book is a translation from Swedish. Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger, and this is his first novel, which was a number one best seller in Sweden. It’s a highly amusing, fiction book.
What’s it about? – From the opening pages you get the picture – Ove is an angry, irritable, impatient man – a real Victor Meldrew – who finds fault with all the minutiae of every day life. As the reader, you can’t help smile reading it, - as indeed! - there is probably a little bit of Ove in all of us!
What can you say about the story telling? - I loved the way the story unfolded. Gradually we learned about Ove’s childhood, his relationship with this father, his work history and the extraordinary events leading up him falling in love and getting married. Despite being so gruff on the exterior, Ove always knew the honest and the right thing to do, and in fact was always helping people. He seemed to attract friends and neighbours who would not take No for an answer, and even in his solitude and misery, he could not seem to keep everybody away, even though he wanted to!
What did you think of the characterisation? - This was brilliant. Ove was Ove through and through – and there was always something interesting and amusing happening. Quite often, they were observations about normal life. All the supporting characters in the book were entirely believable and likeable. Somehow they all managed to get the best out of Ove!
What was good about reading this book? –There were so many themes in this book. Overriding all, was the theme of grief from losing his wife, and the depression that had ensued. However, there were also other themes such as the neighbourhood association, the feud with Rune, and the rivalry between the Volvo and the Saabs! Too true you should never judge a book by it’s cover, as Ove, unpleasant as he seemed at first acquaintance actually had a heart of gold.
I particularly loved the sections in the book about the cat – or Cat Annoyance – as Ove called it! You do need to read it for yourself!
What didn’t you like? - There was nothing I didn’t like about the book.
How did reading the book make you feel? – Anyone who has lost a close relative will know the pain of loss. This is a type of mental anguish that does not just go away on its own. Reading the book and feeling Ove’s pain for his dead wife, was something I could relate to having lost both my parents, one after the other, from cancer, only a few years ago. The pain of living without them is hard to bear.
I liked the fact however that Ove had loved and been loved – and indeed we could see he was very capable of loving very deeply.
Funnily enough the grief, the depression, the anger and the despair somehow came together as a very funny book, hard to put down! Isn’t that a curious aspect of human nature?
Would you recommend this book? – Yes I would recommend this book – it was fantastic! I tried to pick a section out to reproduce in this review – but I couldn’t decide on anything – because I just loved it all! If you do one fun thing this year – read this book!
5 out of 5 daisies!
Daisy Mae x x
“A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman
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Daisy Mae x