Published by Atria Books (8.27.2012)
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 337 pages
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.
Okay, so to understand why I picked this up and why it was so poignant for me, I have to get really personal for a minute. My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which has spread to his bone, brain, and kidneys; he recently stopped chemo and was given 3-6 weeks to live. I’ve been looking for books dealing with loss, and this one popped up in my search a few times and I passed it by because, frankly, based on the cover alone I would probably have never looked twice (maybe just for the cat lol). Then it popped up again – I don’t even remember where – and on a total whim I went and picked it up from the library.
And I ended up being pleasantly surprised! I’ve seen a couple people compare this to Up and Gran Torino, and they are 100% right! It has the warm fuzzies of both movies, with the grumpy-old-man-gets-strapped-with-a-kid/animal/etc trope that I freaking LOVE.
This book is so adorably charming! Ove (which is pronounced oo-vuh, not rhyming with stove lmao) is super cranky in the beginning – he’s very particular and routine-oriented, doesn’t like change or disorder, doesn’t have time for dealing with anyone, knows what he wants, and just wants to be left alone. He’s not a people person. In fact, he’s pretty judgy about people. He’s not a cat person, either. View Spoiler »I kinda figured his wife was dead in the beginning, but I still sobbed like a fuckin’ baby when it was revealed that she had cancer. Of all the things, it had to be cancer. That hit me SO HARD. « Hide Spoiler
Um, THE CAT. I loved the cat so much! It was the cutest thing ever that Ove didn’t want anything to do with the “mangy” stray, yet did things to help him out (and made excuses against it). I love how he slowly warmed up to the cat!
I actually really enjoyed all of the characters in this book. Jimmy, Parvaneh and her kids and husband (whose name I can’t remember), and the other neighbors! I especially loved Parvaneh and her interactions with Ove. They gave me all the feels! It seemed like a real story with real people, not fiction. I also love the ring of fate/destiny this book had – that sometimes people are put in your life for a reason, right when you need them the most.
This whole book gave me all the feels. I laughed and cried so many times! I think the timing made this book resonate even deeper with me, and it was exactly what I needed just at the right time. Highly recommend!
People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.
Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.
But we are optimists when it comes to time; we think there will be time to do things with other people. And time to say things to them. Time to appeal.
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5