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A Man Called Ove
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MODERN CLASSICS/POPULAR READS > A Man Called Ove - *SPOILERS*

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Kaseadillla | 1364 comments Mod
Discussion for our Aug '16 BOTM A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This thread is **FULL OF SPOILERS**. For the pre-read/spoiler free conversation, please head over to this thread .

Happy reading!


Lena (nlgmcr69) | 81 comments I read this one earlier this year and loved it! I just adore the characters. Although they all seem a bit rough around the edges, especially Ove, you learn throughout the story that their hearts are really in the right place. (view spoiler). Overall, a wonderful book and well worth reading.


message 3: by Pye (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pye (helenduvall) | 30 comments I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. It was so much more than the cutesy fluff I thought it would be. Ove was a great character, as was Parvaneh. She was fearless which is probably the only way she could make Ove respect her. I laughed a lot and had a few sniffles (ok, there were tears). I thought it was a great read.


Francesca | 2 comments I had heard very good comments about this book in other groups and I was curious to read it and understand the reason why it was so much appreciated. I didn't get disappointed as I loved the story and the characters. I will try to read more books by this author.


message 5: by Ashley (new) - added it

Ashley (anicholsb) | 24 comments Francesca wrote: "I didn't get disappointed as I loved the story and the characters. I will try to read more books by this author. "

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry is one of the best books I've read this year! I'm also working my way through this author's work:)


message 6: by Ashley (new) - added it

Ashley (anicholsb) | 24 comments I've started this book an am struggling... It gets better, right?

I'm picturing Robert DeNiro as Ove.


Lena (nlgmcr69) | 81 comments Ashley wrote: "I've started this book an am struggling... It gets better, right?

I'm picturing Robert DeNiro as Ove."


I am not sure how much you've read so far, but I loved the book! I guess it depends on the types of books you normally like, but this is one that made me laugh at times, made me cry at times and I really fell in love with the characters, especially Ove and Parveneh. It can be a bit predictable overall, but I do think it is a worthwhile read on an entertaining, emotional level.


Brittany McCann (brittanylmccann) | 50 comments It took me forever to finish it, because the words were blurry from the tears at the end! Such an awesome book.


Brittany McCann (brittanylmccann) | 50 comments Ashley wrote: "I've started this book an am struggling... It gets better, right?

I'm picturing Robert DeNiro as Ove."


Oh my gosh I was dying laughing throughout the entire beginning, sorry you aren't liking it


Leesa I know I'm really late on this one but I've just finished reading and drying my eyes enough to type...

I loved this book far more than I thought I would and it was completely worth the trouble it took to find it in the first place! The characters are so rich that you can't help but fall in love with them and the story so intriguing I didn't want to put the book down.

It's heartbreaking yet laugh out loud funny in places too. A wonderful story I would thoroughly recommend!


Melanie This book was just delightful, and honestly, something I would never have picked up without it being a group read. Even though I predicted the ending, it still got my heart strings. I've been reading a lot of stories lately the feature a cat as a character. Why is is that cats make such good characters (...and cute videos...and great memes)? Sigh*


Leesa Cos cats rule! I'm maybe biased because I have one, but they do! :)


Marilyn I almost gave up on this book. The author spent far to much time at the beginning establishing Ove as a grumpy old man, but once the story got rolling it was a nice read.


Kaseadillla | 1364 comments Mod
I will say that the beginning was a little hard for me to get through, despite the humor.

Whelp.... any book that makes me emotional gets a high rating from me.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1025 comments I didn't dislike this, and totally respect those who did. But I did only give it three stars, and here's why:

Well, I can certainly see why it's been a bestseller and a movie. It's dramatic, emotional, accessible. Too much so for me: too simple, too fairy-tale, too easy....

Also too British. The translator succeeded in being idiomatic, in using different ways of speaking to enrich the identity of individual characters, but he did so by using words like "bloody" and losing almost everything that's Swedish about the story. Which is damned shame. I'm sure it would have made more sense that Anders laughed at Ove calling Blond Weed's dog 'Mutt' in the original... 'Mutt' is, to me, just an ordinary generic 'Buddy' or 'Fido'... for example.

Parvaneh is by far the most likable adult, imo even more so than Sonja and def. more so than Ove. I'd like to read her story. I don't know if I'll read other books by the author.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1025 comments Was anyone else looking for more of a Swedish flavor?


Leesa Cheryl I loved a Man called Ove and was pleasantly surprised that I did. I don't like reading covers for the book and only read the briefest description in order to vote on polls if I've not heard of the book already. So I wasn't aware that it was a translated book at all until I had finished it. Maybe if I was aware at the time I would have picked up on it a little more but I loved it as is and would definitely want to read more of the authors work in future.


Luella | 98 comments Cheryl wrote: "I didn't dislike this, and totally respect those who did. But I did only give it three stars, and here's why:

Well, I can certainly see why it's been a bestseller and a movie. It's dramatic, emoti..."


Yea that bothered me too. This is the second book in a row I've read as a translation that was translated in a super British way. But it bothered me a lot more in The Vegetarian than it did in this one.

That being said though the way Ove acted totally reminded me of my grandfather and my cousins so I got over it pretty quick.

Ashley wrote: "I've started this book an am struggling... It gets better, right?

I'm picturing Robert DeNiro as Ove."


I was picturing the old man in Up. :(

Helen aka Pyewacket wrote: "I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. It was so much more than the cutesy fluff I thought it would be. Ove was a great character, as was Parvaneh. She was fearless which is probably t..."

This I totally agreed with. I avoided reading it for a while but this time when it popped up in Overdrive I was like sure why not?


David Black | 10 comments I was charmed by A Man Called Ove, and I am not easily charmed. Generally books with a moral message or that set out to be uplifting are just not my cup of tea. (Does that make me a curmudgeon like Ove? Probably!) This book was a welcome surprise.
When the book popped up as a recommendation for me on that big book-buying site, I read the description, and wasn't really interested. It was not until someone who knows me well suggested it that I bought it.
As a man roughly Ove's age, with several (okay, maybe more) similar personality traits, I was immediately hooked. I understand his quirks, and perhaps more than some, know where they might come from. I loved the neighbors: Patrick, Parvaneh, Jimmy and the others. They were funny and quirky, but the author never let their quirks turn into slapstick or make them into caricatures. More importantly, I think Ove was deftly handled--there are plenty of older male curmudgeons in literature, TV and film that are one-dimensional. That to me, is the essence of this book...taking a common literary trope and fleshing him out, giving him a backstory, and reminding us that the Ove that we see is only a small of who Ove really is.


Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 1025 comments Good points. I really like what you said. I went to your profile hoping to read more of your reviews, David, but I guess you're selfishly keeping your thoughts to yourself!


message 21: by Kris (new)

Kris Williams | 22 comments Hi David,
I just saw the movie --- and thought the whole story was handled with an appropriate amount of sensitivity without becoming farcical or syrup-y --- which usually doesn't happen with a movie adaptation of a book...
So after the movie, is the book worth reading? Does the author offer a lot of additional insight into why ol' Ove feels there's only one answer to his life...?


David Black | 10 comments Kris wrote: "Hi David,
I just saw the movie --- and thought the whole story was handled with an appropriate amount of sensitivity without becoming farcical or syrup-y --- which usually doesn't happen with a mov..."


Kris--
It's been a few months since I read the book. As I remember, the story line is almost identical in the book and movie. The book does flesh out many of the scenes in more depth, and includes material not in the film. I'd say you'd get some additional insight, but probably a more nuanced view of what you got from the movie, rather than some blinding flash that illuminates everything. It's a little tough to say, because I read the book first, so I probably filled in some gaps in the movie completely unconsciously.
Hope this helps...


message 23: by Kris (new)

Kris Williams | 22 comments Thanks, David --- appreciate your writing back. I'm still in the middle of not syrup-y-at-all Wuthering Heights...(I must have read this when I was in high school, but don't remember it. What come to mind when I hear the name are movie scenes showing foggy moors & a voice calling "Heathcliff...Heathcliff...) Anyway, when I finish this, maybe I'll go back to Ove...


message 24: by Taz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Taz | 81 comments I do not normally read this genre (also, what is this genre?) so it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the story, but I am very glad i read it and plan to read the chapter preview at the end of the book. I am afraid I may enjoy more books from the author and have to add them to my already too packed TBR.

Ove reminds me of my (still too recently passed) grandfather. Men cut from the same cloth, Ove is an old grump who will begrudgingly help you whenever you need him while secretly enjoying the process.


Renee (elenarenee) I have loved everything I read by Backman. I love a book with well written chars. Backman does it well.

I do admit his Bear town is my least favorite. It is because i have no interest in hockey. I am in the minority on this. Most people love Bear Town.


message 26: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 48 comments Swedish stuff moves a bit slow so it’s typical to take a little bit before really getting into the story. I was going to read this but I got the movie instead. It’s on dvd w/English subtitles. It’s was very good!!! I would suggest watching it.


message 27: by Taz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Taz | 81 comments Jenna wrote: "Swedish stuff moves a bit slow so it’s typical to take a little bit before really getting into the story. I was going to read this but I got the movie instead. It’s on dvd w/English subtitles. It’s..."

Jenna, I am lucky in that my local library has a copy. I plan on doing just that. I find it really difficult to read a book and then NOT watch the existing movie adaptation. I guess part of it arises from the fact there are so many fantastic books that should be movies, it is really a gift when one actually is.


message 28: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 48 comments Yes you’re right.
But the rule is: the book is always better than the movie but it’s easier to see a movie than to read the book.
Anyhoo, I like to read & see as well.


Mariana | 522 comments Ashley wrote: "I've started this book an am struggling... It gets better, right?

I'm picturing Robert DeNiro as Ove."


At the beginning I thought "meh, just the day to day of a cranky old man in the modern times" and didn't expect much of it. Now I'm searching for the physical book in Spanish so I can lend it to family and friends
I'm highly hormonal, so crying was a sure thing, but it's the kind of sweet story that I love: it's drenched in dark humour.
Every side comment, frustrated suicide attempt and the cat had me in stitches.


Mariana | 522 comments Luella wrote: "Cheryl wrote: "I didn't dislike this, and totally respect those who did. But I did only give it three stars, and here's why:

Well, I can certainly see why it's been a bestseller and a movie. It's ..."


Maybe because I'm used to reading different translations I accept losing something in between. Translations from Spain are far the best, but you get the same as British ones, there's a lot of words only used in Spain
Mutt for me means a dirty street dog, I got the insult like it was, filthy raggedy dog


Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) This book made me fall in love with Fredrik Backman, so if you're looking for other books by him, I'd definitely recommend Beartown and Britt-Marie Was Here. I also read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, but didn't enjoy it as much (although that's where we are first introduced to Britt-Marie).

I may reread Ove this year, because I loved it so much and it's been a while since I read it!


Karen | 127 comments I listened to the audio version of Ove and absolutely LOVED it! Then, went and found the audio version of Britt-Marie and really, really loved it too. Now, I am forcing my way through Beartown. UGH! (Way too dark and ugly for me to really enjoy.) With that said, I will continue to find and read anything written by Backman because he is such a talent, but I sure hope the next novel has a quirky (likable) character at its core.


Emily Bourque (emilyardoin) Karen wrote: "I listened to the audio version of Ove and absolutely LOVED it! Then, went and found the audio version of Britt-Marie and really, really loved it too. Now, I am forcing my way through Beartown. UGH..."

Beartown really picks up (although it is, admittedly, darker than his other writings). You just have to make it through the terrible love letter to hockey that is the first half of the book haha!


message 34: by NancyJ (last edited Apr 05, 2018 07:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Taz wrote: "Jenna wrote: "Swedish stuff moves a bit slow so it’s typical to take a little bit before really getting into the story. I was going to read this but I got the movie instead. It’s on dvd w/English s..."

Taz, I agree. I'll always try the film if I liked a book. I thought the book was a fast read. I liked the movie a lot too. My family liked the movie too even though they didn't read the book. Unlike some foreign films, the subtitles were easy to read and didn't detract from watching the film. I think it's because there wasn't too much dialogue to follow.


message 35: by NancyJ (last edited Apr 28, 2018 02:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Emily wrote: "Karen wrote: "I listened to the audio version of Ove and absolutely LOVED it! Then, went and found the audio version of Britt-Marie and really, really loved it too. Now, I am forcing my way through..."

I was warned off Beartown by someone in my book club, but I might try it anyway - maybe during hockey season.

If you're looking for more books like this, I highly recommend Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Eleanor is a fascinating character. She is a little Ove-like, but the story is very unique.


NancyJ (nancyjjj) Does anyone have a neighbor like Ove? Or are you becoming a little Ove-like yourself?

I had a neighbor a lot like Ove years ago. I couldn't stand him at first, and I couldn't understand how he managed to get such a wonderful wife. When we first moved in, my husband was a bit like Parvenah and her husband (even asking for a ladder), and they eventually became really good friends.

As with the bicycle in the book, when neighbor kids hit balls in his yard, they always disappeared. They were too afraid to ask him. When they finally did, he presented them with a huge box of balls and toys.

[AHA moment.] In our new neighborhood we have a neighbor who is always calling the police to complain about noisy dogs and kids. The neighbors hate him. It just occurred to me that he is very Ove-like. Hmm. Now after reading this book, I feel like there is something I should do about it.


Sarah | 729 comments I loved this story so much! I enjoyed every minute of it, and I bawled like a new born baby at the end!!


NancyJ (nancyjjj) Sarah wrote: "I loved this story so much! I enjoyed every minute of it, and I bawled like a new born baby at the end!!"

Me too, but it was happy tears. Did you also laugh a lot?

How did you react to the suicide attempts? I read it twice, and the first time the suicide attempts made me sad. The second time (and while watching the movie), they really made me laugh. I don't know if that's what they call gallows humor, or if I was laughing because something was intervening to cheat death.

"Man plans, God laughs"


Sarah | 729 comments The attempts definitely made me laugh because he was so grumpy he couldn’t even let little things get in the way of his main goal, which showed he really did want something to live for, he had just lost what that had always been. It did make me sad when I realized his wife was not alive anymore, but I loved how the neighbor made sure he knew he was needed and gave him new purpose.

I started the movie but stopped because I wasn’t in the mood for subtitles at the moment. Can’t wait to watch it though!!


NancyJ (nancyjjj) Sarah wrote: "The attempts definitely made me laugh because he was so grumpy he couldn’t even let little things get in the way of his main goal, which showed he really did want something to live for, he had just..."

I barely noticed the subtitles in this one because the dialogue was fairly light. But I did have to put my phone away to eliminate the distraction and keep my eyes looking up on the screen. I didn't realize how often I play a game while watching TV.


Kerri | 702 comments I just finished this and found it such an amazing read! As most of you have said, I loved the characters and how they were kept from being just quirky slap-stick, but rather made into people with faults and with strengths. The writing was gorgeous. And I loved the symbolism and weaving of Color. Beautiful. And as others said, I ran through the gamut of emotions: laughing out loud, almost crying, getting really protective of the characters and just feeling heartbreak and love for them.

I was glad I had been told beforehand of the suicide attempts though. My aunt hung herself years ago, and I have known other people who have attempted and accomplished suicide (pills, guns, slit wrists) so when I am blindsided by the topic, it can affect me really strongly sometimes. Going into this book knowing it was there and a prominent feature allowed me to not get bogged down in it.


message 42: by NancyJ (last edited Aug 05, 2018 10:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

NancyJ (nancyjjj) Kerri wrote: "I just finished this and found it such an amazing read! As most of you have said, I loved the characters and how they were kept from being just quirky slap-stick, but rather made into people with f..."

I'm glad you liked it! I wasn't sure if I should mention the suicide attempts, but I know I like to be ready for that kind of thing too. It was at the beginning so I was concerned that someone might stop reading if they thought the book was too dark. (A close friend of the family committed suicide when he was very ill, and I know how painful it is. He was kind of Ove-like too.)

There are a lot of smaller characters in the book that are really special too. I reread the book for a book club, and the smaller characters made it feel like a new experience.

Though I'm drawing a blank on the symbolism and weaving of color. Would you mind sharing some examples of that? (Perhaps via direct message if it could be a spoiler.)


message 43: by Kerri (last edited Aug 15, 2018 11:23AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kerri | 702 comments NancyJ wrote: "Though I'm drawing a blank on the symbolism and weaving of color. Would you mind sharing some examples of that?"

Since this is a "spoiler" thread I don't mind posting here. Unfortunately, right after I finished this book I went on vacation, devoured a bunch of other books, and am now suffering from sleep deprivation so I don't remember much! But I know that if I had been reading this for a class or to write a paper, or if I reread it, I would definitely have paid more attention to the color usage than I did this time through.

There was a quote at the beginning of the book talking about how Ove is a man of black and white while his wife was color. "All the color he had". That really struck me. And then Parvaneh's daughter drew Ove all in color, a kaleidoscope of color because he is "the funniest thing she knows" according to Parvaneh, while everyone else is drawn as black figures. So they juxtapose each other and show that Ove is a man apart - separate and distinct with more to him than meets the eye.

The most obvious form of color usage, to me, was of White. White falls into his stark view on the world (everything is black and white) but plays a pretty prominent role in the book. The "White shirts" he hates so much, the white in the hospital; it is a color of distress, of despondency, dashed hopes, of blockage and The Man who will run you down. The Man in the White Shirt who is trying to take Rune to a home and the Men in White Shirts who blocked Ove's trying to get help and "justice" for his injured wife. The Dr's in their white coats who say nothing can be done for her. Bureaucracy who all shift the blame and get in the way putting up hoops and tape and hurdles. White is Stark and barren.

Then there was Brown which is a little more fuzzy for me. Parvaneh's brown eyes (the biggest brown eyes Ove has ever seen) and Sonja's brown hair. Comfort, nurturing, safety, trust. Qualities that both women give to Ove in their own ways.

Sonja also has red and pink as her calling cards, warm, bright, colors that pop and signify passion, love, zest. Ove's color is Blue. His blue suit, blue cars, the blue sky. A calming, quiet color, deep, purposeful, cool and subtle.

There was also some mention of green if I remember - he had green curtains, a green mailbox, the journalist wore a green jacket, the Weed with her green eyes, the green sign that Parvaneh needed for learning to drive. This could symbolize the outside world maybe? The world beyond Ove and his neighborhood, the world in general? His getting outside of himself?

I know there was more to it, but it seemed like every time the author mentioned a color there seemed to be a reason, a purpose. I would reread this book just to look into it more and gain a more defined understanding of how and why the author used it the way he did and see all the instances and meanings that I missed. I may need to buy a copy just to mark it up!

Did anyone else see the color usage in this book? Have any thoughts to add or to debate the meanings I gave? I think this would be a fascinating discussion.


Kristin B. Bodreau (krissy22247) | -2 comments Kerri wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Though I'm drawing a blank on the symbolism and weaving of color. Would you mind sharing some examples of that?"

Since this is a "spoiler" thread I don't mind posting here. Unfortun..."


I completely missed all of that! But when you point it out it seems so obvious. I kind of want to re-read it now just for this aspect.


Renee (elenarenee) I saw some of this but missed most. This book has so many layers. It is worth reading again.


Austin | 9 comments Kerri wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Though I'm drawing a blank on the symbolism and weaving of color. Would you mind sharing some examples of that?"

Since this is a "spoiler" thread I don't mind posting here. Unfortun..."


I didn't catch any of the color symbolism, but now that you mention it it does seem to be there. I wasn't as observant as you, but I think you nailed it about the "white". It is interesting about Ove being the kaleidoscope of colors". In curious to see what others post about the colors. Thanks NancyJ!!


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I pictured Brendan Gleeson as Ove.

I read this book last year and I was a little disappointed. Although there were some poignant moments, I thought most of the characters never rose above stereotype, like the fat kid who was always eating. The plot felt like a Hallmark movie of the week. I gave it three stars overall but wouldn't read it again or go out of my way or recommend it.


Ekiamx Randy wrote: "I pictured Brendan Gleeson as Ove.

I read this book last year and I was a little disappointed. Although there were some poignant moments, I thought most of the characters never rose above stereoty..."


Glad someone felt the same way :D

I had a couple of problems with this book, but the characters were definitly one of them. Also i felt like the bike kid and the guy from the café were introduced so late in the story that it felt very unnatural to me.


Jen from Quebec :0) (muppetbaby99) | 68 comments Wait--- is this the SEPTEMBER read??


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) Jen from Quebec :0) wrote: "Wait--- is this the SEPTEMBER read??"

Yes, it is the bookshelf catchup choice!


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