What could readers learn about a book titled, A man called Ove? After reading, I felt it touched on life experiences, love, hatred, and great loss in death surrounding the man called Ove. Such a broad scope of emotions was dealt with in a light hearted way, with laughable moments at times, helping us through the tough issues. Overlapping timelines increase our understanding of the man called Ove and the people in his life. It is refreshing to see a man, very cranky, and set in his ways, embrace the differences of others.
Ove treated everyone equal. His measure of a man was not based on age, religion, race or sexual orientation. Finding shared personal qualities in friends and neighbors gave Ove a reason to live after several failed attempts to end his life. His words, “Men are what they are because of what they do not what they say,” shows how he relied on action rather than words to express how he felt about someone.
His actions over time brought his friends and neighbors closer to him before he passed away. Each chapter touched on how Ove handled life experiences. We are told from the third person Ove meeting his future wife Sophie, life lessons learned up to age 16 from Ove’s father, Ove’s forced retirement at 59, and a constant fight with beauracrates he calls “white shirts.” We also feel the sense of loss when Ove’s wife looses their child in a bus accident, and later he loses her to cancer. The structure of his life had become dismantled. What made it matter again, was the day he realized that he was doing what his wife would want him to do with his life, help people.
I enjoyed the novel so much that I’m going to watch the swedish film of the same name. As of this writing the Tom Hanks American version is not available yet. I look forward to seeing both.
***Next review, “My Soul To Keep – by Tananarive Due ***