Ove is a curmudgeon – a man who points at other people he does not like as if they were thieves held outside his bed room window. He has staunch rules, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him – the bitter neighbour from hell. However, behind the grouchy facade there is a tale and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty younger daughters move in next door and by accident flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heart-warming story of shabby cats, sudden friendship, and the traditional art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will transform one grouchy old man and a neighbourhood residents’ association to their very foundations.
First, I should tell you that I was a bit skeptical about reading this book. The book has been with me for the past 2 months. I picked it up around a month back and I just went through the pages. I was kind of put off when I saw chapter headings like “A Man Called Ove Buys A Computer That Is Not A Computer”, “A Man Called Ove Drills A Hole For A Hook”. I was afraid I will not like the book and I picked up another one to read. Now, the book is overdue at the library and I had to read it. And boy, I was in for a surprise.
This book actually made me laugh out loud. I can’t remember the last book which made me do that. Yes, some books make you smile but to actually laugh out loud is different. But at the same time, it makes us sad too. Again, I haven’t been emotionally affected while reading a book for a really long time.
Ove is a character that you initially don’t like but then grows on you. According to him, rules are made to be followed and signs are meant to be obeyed. He sees the world in black and white. And he is a man of principles. He lives for his wife and his work. When he loses both, he thinks he can no longer go on. There are a few sentences which made me feel both happy and sad at the same time.
The author puts together the seriousness of tragedy with the hilarity of life’s unpredictability in a respectful and endearing recitation of Ove’s experiences. I found myself being pulled into Ove’s world.
I think we can find people like Ove in our everyday lives too. On the outside we may find them rude or strict. But once we make the effort to know them, they will turn out to be a sweet and endearing person. The book seriously made me think of how we judge a person just by looking at them or the way they react to something specific. We never try to find out why they did the things they did or why they reacted in that manner.
All in all, it was a great read and I am so glad that I read it. I would definitely recommend it to everyone and will reread it again. This is a definite 5⭐ for me.