She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realized that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life. —Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove
Curmudgeon | noun | cur ⋅ mud ⋅ geon | \(ˌ)kər-ˈmə-jən\
1. a crusty, ill-tempered, cantankerous person
I came across A Man Called Ove while browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I knew right away that I wanted to read it because it was about an ornery, old man. There is just something about elderly people that warms my soul. Ornery or not. I know some people love babies or toddlers, but I would gladly spend my days with grandmas and grandpas just listening to stories and soaking up wisdom. In fact, I’ve often said that if I had chosen a different career path I would have been a gerontologist.
So back to the book, it is perhaps the best book I’ve ever read. And I don’t make that statement lightly. There are a few books in my top 5 or 10 that I absolutely love, but are also consistently changing depending on what I’ve been reading lately. A Man Called Ove is in a whole different category for me. I was flipping through my book to pull some of my favorite quotes and I was overcome by emotion. The story is just that beautiful. It is the kind of book that grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go even after you’ve turned the last page.
When I read this book, I would spend time re-reading chapters because I didn’t want it to end. I read the whole second half and many passages from the first half aloud to my husband because I wanted someone else to share the heart-swell I was feeling.
Ove is the story of a grumpy, old man who is set in his ways and has his plans completely interrupted by the new family that moves in next door. It is a tale of unexpected friendships and second chances. It is a love story braided with sorrow and humor.
People often ask me for book recommendations and it is a huge compliment when they do, so I gladly share some of the books I’ve read. A Man Called Ove is very different from what I usually recommend. If you are looking for a book to read and you haven’t met Ove yet I implore you to read this book. There is so much more to say about him. He is one greatest characters brought to life in these pages. I don’t want to give too much away but I hope you will read this book. I hope you will be as charmed by Ove as I am.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“A time like that comes for every man, when he chooses what sort of man he wants to be. And if you don’t know the story, you don’t know the man.”
“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”