Welcome to “Worth the Read?”, where I give you my honest opinion on whether you should spend your precious time reading a super-hyped New York Times Bestseller.
Today’s book is:
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
On bestsellers list for 79 weeks
Ranked at #8 on Adult Paperback Trade Fiction
A Man Called Ove’s popularity has had a slow but significant burn. When it hit the shelves in the United States in 2015, sales were steady, but once independent booksellers fell in love with the story and started pushing it on their customers, it’s popularity significantly increased. Then, through readers’ word-of-mouth recommendations, sales soared even more.
I couldn’t find sales figures for this year, but in October 2016, the NY Times reported that the book had sold 2.8 copies worldwide and that Atria Books had reprinted the novel 40 times.
A movie adaptation of Ove came out last year to critical success (it has a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes), which helped drive sales as well.
From publisher – 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.
I absolutely adored this book! I’d heard it recommended by so many book reviewers and podcasts that I was a little worried that it was overhyped and I’d be disappointed, but it totally delivered.
Ove’s character could have been very one-note, but Backman did an excellent job giving him depth and making the reader understand exactly why Ove does things he does (as ridiculously curmudgeonly as they may seem!). The story itself is relatively predictable, but it was so well-told and entertaining that it didn’t bother me at all. I even cried at the end, which I almost never do.
The only reason I didn’t give A Man Called Ove a 100% worth it rating is because the writing style might not be to all readers’ taste. The humor is very wry and the narration could seem a bit removed. The book resonated for me, but I certainly don’t speak for everyone!
Rating: 95% worth it
Have you read A Man Called Ove? What were your thoughts? Share in the comments below!
80% – 100% – the book lives up to the hype. Go read it now!
60% – 79% – the book is good, but there’s no rush to read it
40% – 59% – the book has some degree of merit, but has flaws and probably isn’t worth your time
0% – 39% – the book stinks and isn’t worth the read
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