2015 Sceptre Books
Charming… you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel a new sympathy for the curmudgeons in your life. People
Normally I start my reviews with a synopsis, but having just finished this marvellous book and finding the time to write my review immediately I wanted to convey how endearingly brilliant this book is, and I think the quote from People does just that. So what’s it about…
AT FIRST SIGHT
Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – joggers, neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly and shop assistants who talk in code.
But isn’t it rare, these days to fine such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?
In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…
I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while, having seen so many gushing comments over on Instagram, however having thought The Scandal (Beartown) was brilliant I had a few reservation as I had heard Ove was very different. And it is nothing like The Scandal, it is about cantankerous and rude Ove marching through life not bothering to hide his frustration and irritation with the rest of the world. But we quickly learn that Ove is grieving and while that doesn’t excuse his rudeness his circumstances force the reader to sympathise. A stickler for rules Ove monitors his local community doggedly enforcing his standards on all who cross his path. But there is something incredibly endearing about Ove and while he expresses his irritation at the incompetence of others, he likes to see things done properly and in this way he finds himself unwittingly assisting those who cross his path and eliciting some wonderful, but to Ove unwelcome responses.
This book is heartwarmingly charming as a community bonds around Ove and he is not left to suffer alone, because of the compassion of others and despite his abrupt and grumpy manner. A nostalgic read which bought to mind books such as The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and When God was a Rabbit, with a touch of Forrest Gump thrown in. I don’t know what else to add about this book except to say that I loved it and I loved Ove who succeeded in making me laugh and cry all in less that 300 pages.