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October’s Big Comfy Book Club read was Fredrick Backman’s A Man Called Ove. It was nominated by my sister, and following her previous disastrous nomination of the weirdest book most of us had ever come across, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Ove is a grumpy old man who is bitter towards his neighbours and fed-up with the stupidity and ineptitude of pretty much everyone he meets. But behind his hostile exterior, is there a softer side to this solitary, unsociable old curmudgeon?
Beware of spoilers from this point on.
Although easy to read, I found the story a little bit difficult to get into. Perhaps because something of the style was lost in translation from its native Swedish; or perhaps because Ove, with his brusque manner and inflexible enforcement of petty rules, is, initially, a difficult character to like.
But as the story progresses, and Ove’s history is shared, you begin to understand why Ove is the way he is and to appreciate his strongly-held principles.
By the end of the book, much like his eclectic group of neighbours, I had grown to love Ove and wept tears of both joy and sadness at the same time as laughing out loud at the story’s conclusion.
All in all, an uplifting, heart-warming story highlighting the importance of community which I felt was particularly poignant in the current socio-political climate.
As a group at book club, it was pretty much a resounding success and scored an impressive 8.5/10 which we think is the highest score we’ve ever given – although we’re not quite sure about this as we don’t keep proper records. More importantly, my sister redeemed herself and will not be banned from future nominations. Here’s hoping my recommendation for next month’s book goes down just as well…
Thanks for reading,