Read: A Man Called Ove

I’m a frequent library patron, and often spend time browsing the stacks of new titles, both fiction and non-fiction. I borrow a diverse range of books, taking comfort that as an adult; I can abandon a book if it’s not working for me, as it wasn’t assigned by a teacher or as a book club selection.

On a visit last week, nothing was jumping out at me. I asked one of the librarians who happened to be shelving books while I was searching, for a suggestion.

“Everyone seems to like this one book,” she said, but she couldn’t remember the title. “Though I didn’t like it,” she added. She offered to bring it to me, as it’s a book club selection so the library has multiple copies that are shelved elsewhere.

 A Called Ove is Swedish writer Fredrik Backman’s first novel. It became a best seller in Sweden and has been translated into 25 languages.  images

It’s about a man, though not that old by my terms (59), seems to be an elderly curmudgeon type, unhappy with everything and everyone around him. Slowly the story unfolds. His childhood, his marriage and subsequent loss of his beloved wife, and how the various neighbors in his residential community befriend him, helping him replace fear with trust, anger with peace, and hate with love.

This is one of those books that should be selected for One Town, One Book events, and should be assigned to every high school student around the globe. I mean it.

When I returned the book, I saw the librarian who gave it to me and told her how much I loved it. I suggested perhaps she give it another try. After all, she’s an adult reader; she can always abandon it.

I immediately grabbed Backman’s new book My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. Will let you know.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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14 Responses to Read: A Man Called Ove

  1. susanissima says:

    Lisa, thanks for the recommendation! I just purchased the book and it’s calling me from the shelf. As soon as I finish A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, I will plunge into …Ove.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I might have to check Ove out, sounds like a good story line Lisa. As you know I finally got prescription reading glasses and I can read at night again – I’m beside myself with joy! I’m currently reading The Revenant. It jumped out at me because it’s a movie that’s recently out. I love reading in bed and it’s a chore for me to turn the light off at a decent hour! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat Skene says:

    This sounds interesting Lisa…I’m going to check it out. I just started a book club in my condo building and this might be a good recommendation for the group. Always looking for new titles to keep me up at night.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wendy Lapham says:

    I loved this book, too, and am excited he has a new one! In a similar vein is The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Sweet, beautifully told, and if a little predictable, the characters and story more than make up for that. Glad you’re spreading the word about Ove!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like my next book Lisa! And I just got a library card last month!! Thanks


  6. tchistorygal says:

    Sounds like a good one! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  7. Lisa, I just finished THE MARRIAGE OF OPPOSITES by Alice Hoffman. I’m starting MY BRILLIANT FRIEND, by Elena Ferrante. I look forward to your recommendation and will add it to my list pronto’, post haste and soon.


    • I liked MOO, and have My BF– let me know what you think. Going to Italy in June so might be a good choice! I started Backman’s 2nd book- mentioned above– and it didn’t work at all for me. Hope you enjoy Ove.


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