Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











{September 6, 2019}   {Audible Review} A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, narrated by George Newbern

Synopsis: A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

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This is another novel that I’d heard so much about over the years, and regret putting off reading for so long! It’s an absolutely spectacular novel, which I had the opportunity to listen to through Audible, narrated by George Newbern. Between Backman’s wit and Newbern’s matter-of-fact narration style, I found myself snickering and chuckling to myself as I listened while easily falling in love with Ove and his story of love, loss, heartbreak, and redemption. This poor man wants nothing more than to die and join his wife, and while suicide is no laughing matter, Backman is able to take this story and show how the simple act of paying attention and caring for those around us can have a profound effect on those around us who need it most.

I love how Backman intertwines the present with the past, slowly revealing how Ove came to be the sour, angry old man that he is, but also chipping away at his hard shell exterior in order to show the true Ove inside, as he attempts time and again to join his wife, and is comically interrupted due to his strict rules and beliefs about how his residents’ association should be run, time and time again.  Ove has his set of rules, and he doesn’t break them for anyone, leading to a kind of comedy-of-errors as the residents around him live their lives free of strict rules and instead choose camaraderie.

The one aspect of the novel that I struggled to fully grasp was that of the “white shirts,” and what their role is in Sweden. Are they real, or fictional? In the novel, it seems that the government can come in and boss around citizens whenever they please, going as far as taking away their homes and rights to freedoms, and while I’m sure that’s not the exact right interpretation, I haven’t been able to find much corroborating who or what they represent in Sweden online, aside from a poke at government and corporations, however, I’m not sure if an entity of the white shirts is real or made up for this novel; I’d love an answer, if you happen to know.

I see a little bit of myself in Ove, as I’m sure we all do in one way or another, and Backman’s heartwarming unraveling of Ove allows him to finally find everything he didn’t realize he was missing in life. It was such a moving story; I laughed and I cried on many occasions because of the wonderful connections I made with the characters and their plights as I read, and I really can’t say enough good things about this amazing novel. I highly recommend it, especially as the Kindle version is only $5.99 at the time of this initial posting! Five stars.

I purchased this novel from Audible.

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Amazon Kindle | WATCH THE MOVIE | Barnes and Noble | BAM



[…] I began reading this novel, I was reminded a bit of A Man Called Ove, which I absolutely adored. Like Ove, Eleanor is put-off by people and social interaction, though […]



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