Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove is old and alone, his love has died.  He feels like he died too, but he's still breathing.  He decides to commit suicide so he can be buried next to his wife.

Atria Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

With that premise as a basis for this story, it could be a very dreary, sad read.  It is not.  I found myself laughing over Ove's unsuccessful attempts at suicide.  There's a lot more to the story than that.

Ove reminds me of my father's father.  Grandpa John was quiet, taciturn, and never altered his own beliefs.  His way was the "law" at home and even when older his boys did what they were told.  He made his own ladders, grew a big garden and harvested his fruit trees.  The neighbor boys stayed out of his yard and off his land.

Ove is quiet, has his own routines, and wants everybody to leave him alone.  When new neighbors move in next door, they are a different culture and she's very pregnant.  The man is incompetent and can't even back his trailer in right.  He's not supposed to have a trailer there anyway, but how has he gotten this far in life with no skills?  The two children seem taken with Ove, too, and he doesn't know what to do with them.

When death by hanging fails because the rope broke, Ove decides to asphyxiate himself in the garage with his car.  That fails, too, when someone persistently keeps knocking on the garage door.  Every attempt Ove makes at suicide fails because he keeps getting involved with other people.

He has conversations with his wife about these people and the problems they have.  She may be gone, but she's still there in his memories.

This book has the same emotions and actions of my grandparents and even my parents.  My Mom kept having conversations with my father after he died.  It made her feel better.  I'm sure Ove felt better, too.  When I began the book I wondered just what I was reading.  As it went on I enjoyed it more and more.  Not only could I relate, I enjoyed Ove as a character as well the friends he made when he was trying not to.  There's still hope and love and usefulness after one's spouse has died; you just have to find it.  This is a real study in relationships and life, and it was an excellent read.

No comments: