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A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

(Story synopsis and cover image from goodreads.com)

A new year of reading has started! The 2017 Pi Beta Phi book club had picked A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. What I am really enjoying so far about the list of titles for the year, is that they are following the theme of books that will be turned into (or have been made into) movies. I find this to be a great incentive to read the books before watching the movie, and also to expand the titles that I read at the same time.

No matter what type of book you normally enjoy reading, A Man Called Ove is a great read for every person. The novel is one that I think is very important for all people to read right now – it gives us the opportunity to examine how we look at other people. Throughout the story we follow a man named Ove. We see how he is treated by his neighbors and how others perceive him. However, their thoughts of him are based off of single interactions. They do not take the time to know him or to even ask about him from others. They judge him immediately and treat him a certain way based off of that initial impression. This is something that all people do, and there are times where we are wrong. There are times where there is more to someone than meets the eye.

As Ove’s new neighbors get to know him, they begin to see all sides to this cranky, rude old man. A Man Called Ove allows us to see how complex people really are, and we forget how complex our own lives are as well. A Man Called Ove is a refreshing reminder in a surprisingly emotional way. I loved exploring more about Ove and I got choked up more than once as I read his story. Yes, I know he is a fictional character, but I love him all the same. I also love the cat who becomes his companion in a most unexpected way – I also found myself wondering if the cat was Ove’s wife. (You’ll know what I mean when you read the book —–Go, read the book!)

As I read this book, I was reminded of a quote about differences and one that we all need to remember and embrace as we move forward in life:
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” – Audre Lorde

Happy reading dear friends, and please let me know what you are currently reading and what you think of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman once you’ve had a chance to read it!

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