Ove is a curmudgeon. He is resented by the neighbors for his relentless enforcement of the rules in the neighborhood. Every day he makes reconnaissance tours, morning and evening, taking down license numbers of cars who are parked illegally or noting which homes have not taken in their trash and recycle bins on time. He is a man of principles and routines, who fixes things in his home as soon as they break, oils the wooden counters in his home every six months whether they need it or not and would never, ever buy a car with an automatic clutch. He has little patience for people who use fancy espresso machines when a simple percolator will make coffee just fine. In many ways life has bypassed Ove and he finds himself in a world where his gifts and talents are no longer recognized, appreciated or even respected.
That is until the new neighbors scraped the side of his house and topple his mailbox as they tried to back their U-Haul down the narrow alleyway between their homes. And then there was the cat who was always pissing on the sidewalk who he finds nearly frozen to death in a snow bank just outside his door. Or the young man that wanted to impress his new girlfriend by fixing up her bicycle, but didn’t have the tools or the knowledge to do so. Suddenly, Ove’s life is unexpectedly full and he is distracted from the plans he had made to deal with the emptiness in his life.
Backman gently leads us along, slowly revealing the reasons for Ove’s cantankerous nature. Without being overly sentimental, Backman weaves the backstory of Ove’s life into the present day and we see how the disappointments and challenges in his life have shaped Ove and led to his belief in and strict adherence to rules and patterns that would otherwise seem excessive.
This is a gentle, moving story of one man’s quest for meaning and a profound meditation on the impact that just one life can have on so many others. It is no wonder that it has been listed as one of the best books of the year by the the Washington Post and the New York Times! In the same spirit of books like The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, this is a feel good story, with a profound message that particularly resonates during this holiday season of peace on earth and good will towards all!
Brenda’s Rating: *****(5 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Everyone!
Book Study Worthy! YES!
Read in ebook format.