The Upside of A Man Called Ove

a man called oveIn many ways, this felt reminiscent of Up- minus the balloons of course. The crotchety old man at the core, the surprise friendships and the life purpose to pursue… though admittedly this is a far less jaunty goal and deals with some adult themes.

Still, even as this lurches into bleak territory, Backman’s light touch kept me steady and I ultimately found it an uplifting story. Not that it didn’t have its tearful moments- I went on quite the journey of emotions here: from chuckles to getting all watery-eyed to squee’ing with glee by the end (what can I say, I’m a big softie at heart 😉 )

I will admit to being a bit on edge after my experience with Beartown, expecting another political sneak attack- fortunately however the villainous Authorities were mercifully unrooted in political ideology- which only served to make them more chilling (frankly, who isn’t bothered by faceless government agencies stomping on an individual’s freedom?). Fortunately, this ended up being a definite success and more than delivered on the promise of being a charming, heart-warming tale.

Above all, I adored the characters, especially Parvanah (I love how her name means “butterfly” and how much that both clashes with her personality and emphasises her brightness). And I do love how every single character was fleshed out- even the cat!

It was beautifully written. I especially thought the brief and effective use of ALL CAPS was brilliant- since that’s rarely done well. I did appreciate the blend of flashbacks as well. The one criticism I did have was that for such a short book, it took forever. While I did love it, the pacing was v e r y  s l o w.

Don’t let that put you off though! Maybe just read it when you’re more in the mood for something with a luxuriant pace.

4½/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall half banana

So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comment!

79 thoughts on “The Upside of A Man Called Ove

  1. I loved Up! From what I can tell, I think I’ll love this book as well, it sounds so nice! Plus, 4 and a half bananas? That’s gotta be good! My TBR is suffering :’)
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been on my physical TBR for a while now. I have heard great things about it, and mixed reviews about his other book Beartown, though it seems many of the complaints are that the pacing was too slow…
    I can’t wait to read it :]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was hesitant to click on this post because I ADORE this book, and I was scared that perhaps you would be less enthused. I admit I immediately scrolled down to see how many bananas it got. I breathed a sign of relief when I saw the 4.5. I can’t put my finger on it, but this book made me cry like no other book. I’m glad you enjoyed it as well. Great Review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this a couple of weeks ago and like you absolutely loved it, although I agree about the luxuriant pace. There is something very likeable about Backman’s writing and I think everyone knows an Ove.

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  5. “A man called Ove” was my first Backman book and I loved it. It is the novel that I pester all who will listen to READ! Since this one, I’ve gone on to enjoy many more Backman titles and I’ve enjoyed them all. “A man called Ove” and “Beartown” are my two favorites so far.

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  6. I’m so glad to see you liked this one, I was a little worried about it being overhyped. It seems like this is the place to start with his work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello!
    I loved this book as well, though I do agree about the slow pacing. Despite it being a short book, this one took me a while to get through. Glad to hear that you enjoyed this book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like this one can pack quite a punch with all them emotions it can make ya feel. Saw a lot of praise for it from James too. And funnily, I thought of UP when reading both of your reviews for this hahah Glad you enjoyed it far more than Beartown! Awesome review as always. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I read this when it first came out and I just found it so…slow……that I struggled to really get into it. All that detail about Volvo cars really bored me. In saying that, Parvanah was a brilliant character – it was so nice to see a heavily pregnant woman doing something other than just sitting around being pregnant. I also liked the representation of older people that showed both their good and bad sides – as you said, every character was fully fleshed out. There’s just something about Backman’s writing style that I struggle to connect with. I’ve finally finished Beartown and had exactly the same problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yes I totally get it! understand. it was really slow and I can understand why that bored you. She really was a fantastic character and I really liked how it focused on lots of different types of people. But I can understand why you had a problem with the style- I think I struggled more with the style in this one, weirdly enough, but both of the books had a similar issue for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I saw the movie last year, when it was nominated for an Oscar (I watch every single Oscar nominated film!) so I doubt I’d be able to go back and read the book now.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This sure looks like a clear winner! I adore Up so the fact you got some vibes of it from this makes me want to go see it for myself 🙂 Of course it won’t be the exact same or make me feel the way Up did but I like that it’s similar in ways. Too bad about the slow pace. That can absolutely make or break a book for me.
    Amazing review!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Saw the film of the book at the Edinburgh Film Festival two years ago, twas a wonderful film and the slow pace of the book is captured well in it.. Your review reminds me I never did get round to reading the book, something I should rectify soon. Another inspiring review, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I read this last year with my book club and adored the story! I am a big sucker for eccentric characters though. I really liked how one of the themes of this book is that you can’t really judge someone unless you know the whole story. It was a wonderful book to discuss. When I recommend this book to others, I always warn them that they need to be in the mood for a slower paced, but heartwarming, story.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I loved this one too. And it reminded my Up too. I loved it so much that I went ahead to pick his other book (My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry) right away but I did not feel so good about it. Some day i will dare again to pick something from the author again.

    Liked by 1 person

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