Memphis Reads: A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman

Andrea reviews A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman, Washington Square Press, 2014, 337 pages. It would first appear Ove is the grumpiest curmudgeon you will ever meet. He is rigid, angry, and anti-social, and things have gotten worse since his beloved wife, Sonja died. But at least she understood Ove and laughed off his idiosyncrasies. She found his inflexibility frustrating at times, but she took the time to look beyond the surface. This novel is nearly ten years old but the message is timeless that we shouldn’t judge people by first impressions. I am not denying Ove could be infuriating to both readers and the book’s other characters. In fact, it has been speculated he might have been on the spectrum. Truthfully, I have lived with two men who only saw the world in black and white (my late father and my husband) and my seeing the world in a multitude of grey was just as frustrating to them as it was with Sonja and Ove. (I know I am not the only one who can relate this issue.)  I enjoyed this book because I understood Ove’s harshness but also identified with Sonja’s lightheartedness. If you want a quick read with a profound message, pick up Fredrik Backman’s novel, A MAN CALLED OVE. You might even find yourself rooting for the old codger!