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Book Review: A Man Called Ove


Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

I! Love! Ove! 

Don't get me wrong. I would have gone crazy being married to this grumpy, cantankerous, Oscar-the-Grouch guy who was a rules follower to the extreme, minced no words, and yelled at everybody. But I would have loved to have had him as my friend or neighbor, because in small doses, including the time it takes to read this book, Ove is an absolute delight. Ove reminds me a bit of Harold Fry (of "The Pilgrimage of ...” fame), a book I really liked, and my father, who took curmudgeonry to almost the level that Ove did. I guess that explains the attraction.

You won't find a couple of opposites quite like Ove and his wife, Sonja, whom he couldn't imagine living without, or marvel quite as much over the purity of Ove's love for her. She was as tickled by him as he was annoyed by the world, but somehow, their love story is one for the ages.

This is one of those books where the entire cast is as well drawn as the title character. From long-time nemesis Rune and his wife, Anita, to new neighbors Parvaneh and her husband, Patrick, who get the ball rolling, the supporting cast in this story feels like people you actually know, not just characters in a book. Ove ranks among my very all-time favorite fictional characters-who-feel-like-friends, along with Joe of "Beautiful Joe" from my favorite book from childhood, to the Major in “....Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” to Richard and Door from "Neverwhere." If you haven't read this, drop everything and go read it right now. And when you're done (not before) go watch the movie of the same name. You won't be sorry.

5 out of 5 stars.