Every year I find that one book stands out in relief from all the others. Sometimes it has made me laugh or cry, sometimes it makes me think about an issue from another perspective and sometimes it just entertains.
In 2014 that book was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
I received the advance ebook from NetGalley and very quickly spread the word that this book was going to be a hit. As a matter of fact my book club, The Blue Ridge Readers, will be reading this book next month. What follows is the edited book review I placed on Goodreads.com.
I just read one of the best books of the year (2014). I laughed, chuckled, roared and admittedly shed a few tears.
Ove endured an unbelievably tough childhood filled with loneliness and lack of nurturing. Forced to survive on his own he structured his life around rules and principles. Over time he formed a crust over his personality that seemed to harden him into an ill-tempered old neighborhood crank.
Thankfully for Ove there were people who saw the cracks in the crusty soul and loved him deeply. The love story of Sophia and Ove will leave you in tears. Ove could not have foreseen his future the day the neighbors moved in and ran over his mailbox.
Poor Ove, despite his attempts to alienate children, cats and kooks, his snappy one-liners and his over-sized kind heart couldn’t fool anyone who took the time to look closely at the man. As Ove would say himself, “It isn’t what a man says that matters, it is what he does.”
Ove was obsessed with his car, a Saab, and the company was so enthralled with the story of Ove’s life they uncharacteristically did a book review on their company’s website. First published in Sweden, it has been translated into English. A must read!