BOOK REVIEW: A Man Called Ove – by Fredrik Backman


Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction, Humor, Contemporary
First published: August 27th 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 22nd 2016
Pages: 337
(Originally written in Swedish: “En man som heter Ove”)
Rating 5qqq

“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’.”


There has been a lot of hype around Fredrik Backman‘s work this year, and I thought it was about time to find out just exactly what everybody was raving about. And boy do I regret not having picked up my copy of A Man Called Ove earlier! This originally Swedish book was in one word BRILLIANT. I fell in love with both the prose and main character from the very first page and it’s been a while since a book has been able to make me laugh and cry at the same time. Ove has managed to win over my heart, grumpiness and all, and he is hands down one of my new favorite characters. He really reminded me of Carl, the grumpy old man from the movie Up! And Ove’s character is just as endearing in his own grumpy way. Apart from the prose itself and the fabulous character, Fredrik Backman is also able to combine heartbreaking and sensitive topics with a humor that is right up my alley. The humor might not be for everyone, but even so I would suggest trying A Man Called Ove if you haven’t already. It’s without doubt one of my favorite reads this year!


Ove is a grumpy man who finds his solitary world turned upside down when a young family moves in next door. He is the kind of man with strict routines and a short fuse. People around him call him ‘the bitter neighbor from hell’, but is he really bitter just because he doesn’t seem friendly all the time? Behind his cranky exterior is a story and a sadness that will slowly be revealed as random things start happening when the family next door moves in.


This is not the first time I have been blown away by a Swedish book, and A Man Called Ove has definitely been added to my list of all time favorites. I’m having a hard time writing a coherent review, but what I can say is that I strongly suggest reading this story. It’s just that good! I’m aware the humor I myself loved might be a turn off for some, but even so I would say it is worth the try. I will be looking forward to read his other books soon.

29 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: A Man Called Ove – by Fredrik Backman

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    • You already know I didn’t like Hitman either… I still love The Hundred-Year Old Man, but I think A Man Called Ove is my new favorite Swedish book. I’ve heard it’s actually his best book out of the ones that are already published, but I’m definitely going to give his other books a try next year.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can totally relate to that! I guess part of what made me connect Carl and Ove is that both stories made me laugh and cry at the same time… Ove has a similar sad history.


  5. YES! I’m so glad that you loved this one! I so agree. It’s a perfect little book. I loved My well but Ove comes out on top. I’ve heard Britt-Marie isn’t as good but the shorter one is supposed to be very good – I can’t recall the title right now.
    Great time of year to read it too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely going to try and get a copy of My Grandmother soon so I can read it early next year… I’ve heard his other stories aren’t as good as Ove, but I guess they are still worth the try.

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. I adored this book!

    “Ove has managed to win over my heart, grumpiness and all, and he is hands down one of my new favorite characters.”

    Felt the same way. I wish Ove was my neighbor. Not sure if you know how “Ove” is pronounced, but it is pronounced “OO-Vuh” which really threw me for a loop when I heard it for the first time in the audiobook lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to hear you did! It’s without doubt one of my favorite reads this year. And thanks for confirming how Ove is actually pronounced! My Swedish is non-existent, but I kind of guessed since it’s about the same in Dutch as well. I imagine it would sound strange in an audiobook though haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Second review today that raves about this book – I think it’s a sign I need to read it! I’ve been on the fence, but it sounds like I’ll regret it if I don’t try it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s SO good! Even if you are not sure about it, I suggest you try anyway… You will be able to tell by reading just the first few chapters if the humor and prose is for you or not.

      Liked by 1 person

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