A review of the only book to make me both laugh aloud and cry with love:
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
If you want to fall in love with a book this year, then A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is that book. In a world of Ikea furniture and constant bureaucracy, smart phones and idiotic people, Ove does not suffer these fools and their frustrating ways lightly.
Backman's character creation is incredible. As the reader, I couldn’t help loving the vulnerabilities of Ove, while at the same time hating the stuffy old man for being so rude to people. The opening scene illustrates my frustration and enamour fantastically with our protagonist in a computer shop trying to purchase an 'O-pad.' We cringe at Ove’s stubborn belief that he’s correct in this field and we share the annoyance of the men behind the counter, however the author revisits this scene later in the book because he wants the best iPad for Parvannah’s daughter, a scene which is quite oafishly beautiful.
The character growth of Ove is illustrated with his seemingly unending interactions with the neighbours who constantly seem intrusive to the old man who 'just wants to die in peace. Is that really too much to ask?' Despite Ove’s woefully tough outer shell, his sensitive side is exposed throughout the book, and his struggles with grief and dealing with the loss of his sole-mate Sonja are clear, noting that she was, 'all the colour,' in Ove's grey world. Right from Sonja’s introduction in a flashback, we fall in love with her because she brings out a benevolent side of Ove which is not seen when he’s dealing with the council or helping an idiot back up their trailer (after all, who doesn’t know how to reverse a trailer?).
Unable to put this book down, I found myself missing meetings, family events and scheduled parties. For my tardiness, I am someone Ove would detest! It's a fantastically emotional book with incredible characters and a charm not often found in books about grumpy old men.