Ove is the kind of man most tend to avoid. He is 59 years old and retired. He likes things the way he likes them and that is all. He is a rule follower. He doesn’t understand people who just can’t mind their own business and for Gods sake.. follow the basic rules. Most refer to him as a crabby old man and worth avoiding but Ove could care less. Is he supposed to plaster a stupid smile on his face and pretend that the local idiots are ok? Ove doesn’t think so.
Then one day new neighbors move in and in the princess of doing so they hit Ove’s mailbox because clearly they have no idea how to back up a U-Haul. Seriously? And they are chatty… this family of “The Pregnant One”, the “Lanky One” and their two little ones. What Ove does not expect is how much this family will turn his world around… in surprising ways for all involved.
A Man Called Ove was our book club pick for April. Having just come off a not-so-delightful read, A Man Called Ove sounded lighthearted and funny and who doesn’t like that? For myself, I listened to it on audio and enjoyed the narration of George Newbern, a narrator to keep an eye (or ear?) on as he has narrated several audio books I have thoroughly enjoyed. While I enjoyed this book, and occasionally smiled at the things that Ove would say or do, it was not the funny award-winning read that I had hoped for. This could be because I may not have been fully engaged when listening to the audio, or it may just not have lived up the hype that I was expecting and that in a nut shell is the problem with hype. 🙂 It may have been better not knowing any opinions on the book prior to listening.
My book club, The Bookies, all read the book version. There was great discussion over the different themes that flow through this book: depression, self-worth, relationships at all levels, the importance of community… listening to them share about the book I almost wish I would have read it just for the fact that I think that I may have not been in the right frame of mind for such an audio and missed some things by listening instead of reading in this particular case.
Over all the bookies rated this one in the high 4’s to 5 on our scale of 1-5 on book ratings. They enjoyed Ove very much and we all discussed the Ove’s we have in our own life. I actually came in at the lowest rating of a 3, which is not bad. I found it to be an average read, good but not over the top great. Perhaps this is one I need to someday read again.
If you read my morning post you seen all the delightful food we had centered around this book. We tried a few Swedish recipes. I made a sausage and potato hot dish as Ove liked to eat that dish every day. Oh… Ove. 🙂
The book lends itself to many topics that are discussion worthy…. relationships, generations, suicide, depression, aging…
As I mentioned, most of us know an “Ove”, someone set in their ways and see things as black and white and never gray. Talk about your “Ove”. How do you relate to this person? Do you see underneath the hard structure?
The Swedish background allows for some creative food to go with your discussion. There is a lot of food and drink mentioned within this book and experiencing this as a group is fun.
Several movies come to mind when you are discussing AMCO. Consider watching one of these movies with your book group… Grumpy Old Men, Gran Torino, About Schmidt, As Good As It Gets…