Book Review : A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Henning Koch (Translator)

Genre : Fiction, Contemporary, Humour
Page : 337 pages
Published : 27th August 2012

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

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.

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.”

I pick this book with two reasons. First, I have long interested with the book since its scattered everywhere on social media. Besides, the cover is pretty calming which shows this book is rather different than the others. Second, I would love to read some light reading. I can’t find the book anywhere in the store as in it’s already too long since its publication year. Therefore, I am so happy when I found across the E-book version and I am grateful for being able to read this wonderful masterpiece.

Just like the title, the book tells the journey of a man called Ove whom is living his life in his fifties. Ove is pictured to be a curmudgeon with his Ove – principles that strangers find annoying and readers find it to be admirable and funny. Ove is a cranky, strong-willed, discipline and hardworking old man that lives his peaceful life.

Or so we thought.

The story starts with Ove living his late life and eventually it is revealed that his company that he worked for, ended up replacing him with technology as in he is no longer productive. As a curmudgeon, of course Ove is enraged and with his Ove – principles, he dislike technology because people are not born to be controlled by machine. For Ove, people should be productive and got to have discipline routine. Strangers find him weird but he couldn’t care less.

I love how the book shows everything is in their places by introducing the cranky Ove and made me laugh with Ove mindset. The story progress and reveal bits by bits Ove journey alternately between the past to the present moment. Little by little, the book shows how much Ove is affected by the awful side of humanity, how much sadness has he gone through and the readers will know. That Ove is grieving. 

Ove can handle many things. Ove can fix anything. Except for his grieve.

Then one morning, when Ove decided the burden are too much to bear, he found his mailbox is flatten by a chatty young couples that has just moved next door. This is how Ove peaceful life becomes not-so-peaceful as he suddenly found himself in a rowdy and noisy situations after a long time. Here the book shows how much cranky Ove can be and yet, how gold and big Ove heart actually is.

All of sudden, Ove started connecting himself with his neighbours more frequently than ever. More like, in Ove’s perspective, the neighbours can’t seem to stop disturbing Ove. The journey then continues in humorous and at the same time, sorrowful that forge an unlikely friendship between the unfriendly old man with his neighbourhood in the modern era.

This is a story of how Ove find himself all over again and move on from the unbearable grievance. Reading this,I found myself laughing and crying like crazy. I really do admire Ove, how he see things, how he thinks, how hateful  his words can be but how he has the biggest heart people will ever know. He would do anything for people he loves dearly. Along the story, I love Ove the way he should be and I would not want him to change anything in order to fit into the society.

Ove said this in the book:

“Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say.”

The quotes above fits him perfectly. Ove would always build and fix things with his both hands, argue the most logical decisions (Well.. according to Ove-logic) with his mind and voices. Ove would always use his energy and power to help those in need.

If you haven’t got the book in your hands, then you should hurried grab this book to learn more about Ove. The cranky old man with a big heart that warms the heart of others.


“You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away,”

Author : Celine

9 thoughts on “Book Review : A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Henning Koch (Translator)

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