BOOK REVIEW: A Man Called Ove – by Fredrik Backman

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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”)
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“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’.”

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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!

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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.

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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.

WWW Wednesdays #112 – November 23rd

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently almost finished rereading Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and of course I’m loving this story as much as I did the first time around. As soon as I do end the final page, I’m picking up the sequel Crooked Kingdom! I’m also reading the Netgalley ARC While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft, although I’m only a few pages into that one so far. And I’m quite far into my very first audiobook experience with Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis. I have to admit it takes some time getting used to the whole audiobook thing, but this action-packed story does make it a lot easier for me to enjoy the process.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished reading Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi, which I had picked up on a whim after being in the mood for a fantasy read. (The fact that it’s a Goodreads Choice Nominee is a bonus of course). I loved the worldbuilding and the prose is great, but I wasn’t too convinced by the characters or the ending. It’s a middle grade read though, and I have a feeling the target group will probably love this story.
* I then finished reading The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt, which turned out to be quite a refreshing new detective series in the way that the detective the series is named after doesn’t play that big of a role nor does she have a messed up private life. It’s also quite a fast-paced read, although I have to admit the sheer amount of characters that is introduced can get quite confusing at times. I had a hard time identifying where each character stood in the story, and it made it more difficult to actually just enjoy the story. I also had problems with the credibility?
* Afterwards I decided to read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, and it turns out it is nominated for Best Memoir for a good reason. This memoir is powerful, raw, emotional and simply heartbreaking… The story of a young neurosurgeon who lost the battle against cancer, a man who tried to write down the story of his life during a race against the clock. The rush especially shows in the last part he wrote himself, but that only makes this memoir more authentic. The final part written by his wife was especially moving.
* Afterwards I decided to continue with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It’s a truly interesting historical fiction novel set in both Africa and the US and follows different generations of two initial characters. The story was a bit confusing in the beginning, mostly due to the sheer amount of characters that are introduced over time. The pace was a tad slow at times as well, but overall Homegoing is without doubt a very powerful and well researched historical fiction novel.
* The last book I read is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which was my last TBR jar pick. And boy do I regret not having picked this one up earlier! This originally Swedish book was in one word BRILLIANT. I fell in love with 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. Fredrik Backman is able to combine heartbreaking and sensitive topics with a humor that is right up my alley; I can’t wait to read more of his work soon. (By the way, am I the only one who thinks Ove sounds a bit like the old grumpy man in the movie Up?)

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m still trying to read more Goodreads Choice Awards nominees, so I have The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly on my list. I also want to try and read my very first Reading Alley ARC: Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne. Lastly, I have a new TBR jar pick: Little Women by Louise May Alcott. I have to admit I have never read this classic before nor am I that excited about it, but hopefully I will turn out to be wrong about this one. At least it’s a great excuse to squeeze in another classic before the end of this year. 😉

Teaser Tuesdays #115 – November 22nd: A Man Called Ove

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

This book has been recommended to me various times in the past and seems to be everywhere lately. I normally prefer staying away from so-called hyped books, but I’m glad I gave this one a go because A Man Called Ove is about to be added to my list of favorite books I’ve read this year. The writing as well as the main character are simply brilliant. Sure, Ove is grumpy, cranky and doesn’t sound likeable at all, but somehow you grow to love him almost instantly. Ove is turning out to be one of my new favorite characters and I’m sure that won’t change after reading the final chapters today. Looks like I will be adding a new author to my favorites list as well!

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My teaser (11%):

“People also called him antisocial. Ove assumed this meant he wasn’t overly keen on people. And in this instance he could totally agree with them. More often than not people were out of their minds.”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #111 – November 16th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading two of the Goodreads Choice Awards finalists: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. I’m not that far into the stories yet, but both look quite promising. I’ve also started my very first audiobook Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis (narrated by Colin Iago McCarthy), which was sent to me by Mindbuck Media Book Publicity in exchange for an honest review. It still takes time to get used to the whole audiobook idea, but there are definitely advantages to it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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*The first book I have managed to finish is Before You Leap by Keith Houghton, which turned out to be a really interesting psychological thriller. The prose was great and even though the story was a bit confusing in the beginning, I ended up really enjoying this read. I’m not too sure about the ending though.
* I then read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, and boy, she has done it again. Those who know me are already aware of my not-so-good relation with the romance genre, but this one is an exception to the rule. This title just became the second 5 star CoHo book on my list. Why is it so brilliant? With a well written story, intriguing plot, strong characters and a very important theme, there isn’t much that can go wrong.
* The last book I finished this week is The Power by Naomi Alderman, a title I requested based on Claire‘s review and turned out to be just as good as she had promised me. It’s without doubt a very powerful read indeed and one that will stay with me for a while. Read this one if you have the chance!

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I should really pick up another pending Netgalley ARC; most likely The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt. I also want to read both When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo since they are finalists in the Goodreads Choice Awards. I might read my latest TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman first though.

WWW Wednesdays #110 – November 9th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading the Netgalley ARC Before You Leap by Keith Houghton and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. I’m about 25% into each story and I’m loving both so far for completely different reasons! Basically, the only reason I haven’t finished them yet is that I’ve had practically no time to read in the last two days.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I can definitely understand why so many people love this story. It was a bit too fluffy, cliche and predictable for me, but I LOVED the dogs, the fact that Clark is a fantasy writer and the geeky elements in general. Definitely recommended for contemporary romance fans!
* I then read the novella Lemon Sting by Collin Henderson, which turned out to be a fast-paced and entertaining thriller with without doubt a lot of action scenes. The prose was really easy to read as well and I liked the general plot.
* I also finished No Excuses Detox by Megan Gilmore, a cookbook which is to come out next year. I wasn’t convinced by all of it and some of the things were a bit complicated to be called ‘no excuses’, but there are without doubt a lot of recipes I will be trying out.
* The last book I finished was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, which kind of left me with a book hangover. IT’S SOOOO GOOD!!! I can’t believe I haven’t read this one before and it made it right to the list of 2016 favorites. Absolutely brilliant science fiction read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The first book I’m going to pick up after I finish my current reads is The Power by Naomi Alderman. After I read Claire‘s review not that long ago and I can’t wait to start reading it! I also want to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, one of the books that’s nominated for the Goodreads Awards… And The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt is another pending Netgalley ARC. My newest TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I need to read that one ASAP!

WWW Wednesdays #109 – November 2nd

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m finally continuing with my last TBR jar pick The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I’m definitely enjoying it a lot better than the first time I tried to start reading it. I’ve also picked up my Netgalley copy of No Excuses Detox by Megan Gilmore, which is turning out to be a really interesting read so far and I can’t wait to start trying out the recipes.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished The Good Sisters by Helen Phifer, which turned out to be such a great and creepy read! Definitely on the top of this year’s Halloween list; if you like a well written story with great descriptions and the right creepy atmosphere (complete with haunted convent), defiintely give this one a go. It’s brilliant!
* I then read The Scholl Case by Anja Reich-Osang, which is a true crime read about the Scholl Case where a former German mayor killed his wife. It wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, as it focused more on the history of both the mayor and his wife and the murder case was forced into the background. The whole thing read more like a historical fiction story, and I’m not sure to what level this story can actually be called ‘non fiction’. The pace was pretty slow as well…
* I then picked up Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, mostly because I wanted to read more Halloween related books. And I really enjoyed this one! Fast-paced and just the right dose of creepy; the perfect and entertaining read for the October month. I will definitely be continuing this series soon.
* I also decided to read Sanctum by Madeleine Roux for the same reason. I had completely forgotten how good this series was! Almost no romance, a fast pace, lots of creepy scenes and the photos are a nice touch. I really enjoyed this one and I’ve moved the third book right to the top of my TBR pile as well.
* The last book I finished was Love You To Death by Caroline Mitchell, a Netgalley read that didn’t turn out to be as good as I hoped it would be. I had a hard time getting a proper feel for the story and I wasn’t really convinced by the characters in general… Lucy (killer) had a lot of potential, but Ruby (detective) felt weak as a main character and I didn’t appreciate the romance or love triangle either.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up are two of my pending Netgalley ARCs: The Power by Naomi Alderman and Anything For Her by Jack Jordan. I’m especially excited about the first title after I read Claire‘s review not that long ago and I can’t wait to start reading it. I also want to read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, but I need to reread Six Of Crows first so I might wait a little while longer. And my next TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I’ve heard so many great things about this novel that I can’t wait to finally pick it up!

WWW Wednesdays #108 – October 26th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading The Good Sisters by Helen Phifer and I’m loving every minute of it so far. It’s without doubt a proper Halloween read complete with haunted house and everything! I can’t wait to continue reading it later today to find out what happens next… I’ve also started The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, but I couldn’t really get into it. I’m only a few pages into the story so far, but I’ve decided to keep it on hold until I’m in the mood for it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished Faithful by Alice Hoffman, which turned out to be a really interesting read despite my initial doubts. I know this book has mixed reviews, but I found it both well written and intriguing. The characters are well developed and feel real, and even though Shelby is not exactly likeable, you grow to love her anyway. Interesting story on how grief and guilt can change a person and how hard it is to move on.
* I then read The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and I can’t say I fell in love with this classic. I already knew the basic story and I’m not saying it’s a bad read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Too many religious references and I just couldn’t get a proper feeling for the story.
* The last book I finished since last week is Worth Killing For by Ed James, and I think I enjoyed this sequel even better than the first book. Fast-paced and packed with action scenes; this crime thriller is definitely a great choice for any fan of the genre. And that ending! I will be waiting for the third book to come out to find out more…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The Scholl Case by Anja Reich-Osang has been on my Netgalley list for a while now, so I should really read that title next… Although I might read Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender first since I have been neglecting my Halloween TBR way too much this month. Anything For Her by Jack Jordan is also on my to-do list, and my nex TBR jar pick will be A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I’ve heard so many great things about this novel that I can’t wait to finally pick it up!