This is a five star book for me. I had no expectation going into, it having never read any of Backman’s books. Set in Sweden with a backdrop of a calm suburban street, it’s both comical and heartwarming.
Ove is cranky, he reminds me of Mr Fredricksen in the film Up, they both have the same short temper towards change, other people interfering and have lost their wives, their kindred spirits.
“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
The book is also full of humour, from a grumpy old man’s point of view. Backman’s way with words and clear descriptions of characters and situations had me in giggles on the bus and on the tube on the way to work.
“Ove glares out of the window. The poser is jogging. Not that Ove is provoked by jogging. Not at all. Ove couldn’t give a damn about people jogging. What he can’t understand is why they have to make such a big thing of it. With those smug smiles on their faces, as if they were out there curing pulmonary emphysema.”
It’s a book I know I will go back to and an author I will research more on. I have read another of Backman’s books, Britt-Marie was Here, I did enjoy it but the character of Ove is what made me fall in love with his first novel. The book has also been made into a film, which I’ve not seen, but as always I would say read the book first!
I was blown away by this book. We’ve all heard of autism and think we know the general jist. But reading this book really opened my eyes to the everyday challenges people with autism and their loved ones must manage through.
Parts of this book made me laugh out loud, Lester’s descriptions of shit smeared walls and the complete frustrations you feel for Jonah’s parents make this book heartfelt and endearing. Points in this book are hard to read, the sacrifice and struggle, and a bout of alcoholism doesn’t make a story of plain-sailing, however it does capture your interest and you won’t be able to put it down.