A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)

I’ve been meaning to have light reads for weeks because I felt too old with my recent choices of reading. As I always say, good books come to us just right at the moment when we needed it.

It was a Sunday afternoon, I was waiting for my friends as we’re going out for lunch, when I passed by a local bookstore and found this book. I bought it out of sheer impulsiveness. As a book lover, it feels weird going out of a bookstore without having bought anything.

And so there it was, A Man Called Ove, tucked in a brown paper bag inside my bag. Waiting for it to be read.

When I got home, the first thing I did was to post a photo of the book in a Bookworm Community I joined on Facebook. I don’t know why I did that, honestly. It’s a thing millennials always do, post everything, every second of their life online.

A lot of fellow bookworms gave positive feedback and recommended that I should read the book and all the other books from the same author. I gave the book a shot that night. Halfway into chapter three, I decided Fredrik Backman is my new favorite author.

The book is indeed a light read though the story is a drama, proving once again, that kindness goes a long way. If you’re planning to read the book, please stop here right now as I will be posting my favorite lines (SPOILER ALERT) below.

I bookmarked all of the lines I loved from start to finish. These quotes here I’m sharing are from the pages where I cried, I “awww”, and where I laughed.

“People didn’t know how to do that anymore, brew some proper coffee. In the same way as nowadays nobody could write with a pen. because now it was all computers and espresso machines. And where was the world going if people couldn’t write or brew a pot of coffee?”

How difficult it is to establish the basics of right and left and then do the opposite? How do these people make their way through life at all?”

“If you can’t depend on someone being on time, you shouldn’t trust ’em with anything more important either.”

CONTEXT: Ove is a grumpy old man. He firmly believes that rules are rules. Black is black. White is white. Is it such an unreasonable attitude to life? He finds people who do not follow rules difficult to understand.

“How can anyone spend their whole life longing for the day when they become superfluous? Wandering about, a burden on society, what sort of man would ever wish for that?”

(Ove’s thoughts on ageing and growing old)

I loved how the book alternately narrated the kind of man Ove is today versus the kind of man he was years ago. I personally loved his love story. I could relate a lot with Sonja. She loved books. And Ove kept up with everything that interested her.

And if you could just go and buy everything, what was the value of it? What was the value of man?”

He built her a bookshelf and she filled it with books by people who wrote page after page about their feelings…Ove understood things he could see and touch. Things one could figure out. He was a man of black and white.

And SHE WAS COLOR. All the color he had.

“You like reading?” she asked him brightly.

Ove shook his head with some insecurity….She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realized that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.

Men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say,” said Ove.

He liked straight lines and clear decisions. That is why he had always liked mathematics. There were right and wrong answers there. Not like the other subjects…where you could ‘argue your case’.”

Ove is very traditional. But his principles about life impressed me. How keen he is to learning and how he cared so much about doing things the right way.

Nowadays people changed their stuff so often that any expertise in how to make things last was becoming superfluous. Quality: no one cared about that anymore.”

This was a world where one became outdated before one’s time was up. An entire country standing up and applauding the fact that no one was capable of doing anything properly anymore. The unreserved celebration of mediocrity.”

People need a function, he believes. And he has always been functional, no one can take that away from him.”

The story of Ove is basically about him trying to die. He lost interest about life since the love of her life died of cancer. But his life turned upside down when the kindness of strangers made his life sweet again.

Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivation for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. And the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”

“And time is a curious thing. Most of us only live for the time that lies right ahead of us. A few days, weeks, years. One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. Memories, perhaps. One finds a way of living for the sake of someone else’s future.”

Read more about F. Backman here >>> https://fredrikbackmanbooks.com/

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