Sometimes a story is able to take you someplace else. But even better, sometimes you become so immersed in a particular fictional world, you don’t ever want to leave.
That’s what happened to me when I listened to A Man Called Ove, the most recent pick from my new book club (and a huge step up from our first pick!!).
Not only did I feel like I was right in Ove’s Swedish neighborhood, experiencing everything that happened in the book, but it made me want to know these people, to have them be a part of my actual life. I wanted to pack up a Saab with all of my possessions and drive (of course, not in the residential area) over to their housing estate just to hang out or maybe go to a birthday party.
And when the book was over? I cried. I sobbed. Not because of the events of the story, but simply because it was over.
This book was heartbreakingly sad, extraordinarily funny, and so real. I wish it had gone on for hours longer than it did.
I really don’t want to give much away about this book. I’ll just tell you that it’s a beautiful and hilarious look at aging, friendships, loneliness, loss, love, and family. And rules. So many rules in this book!
Ove is a cantankerous old man (he’s 59, which is hardly a senior citizen, but as the book explains, “Ove has been a grumpy old man since the first day of second grade”) who is very set in his ways and not interested in making new friends and changing any of his routines at this point in his life. He gets up at the same time every day. He buys the same car every 3 years. He eats the same thing for dinner every night. But then his new neighbors move in, and now his life is out of his control.
It was a god damned delight listening to Ove meet and interact with all of the new people in his life. Ove, who hates clowns, won’t pay for parking, and only drinks drip coffee, attracted a rag-tag bunch of individuals to himself (whether he wanted to or not), and soon created a makeshift family without even meaning to.
For anyone looking for a good book to listen to, I can’t recommend this enough. The narrator did a wonderful job and it was always easy to differentiate between all of the different characters. This is one that I plan to buy a hard copy of for myself, just so that I can visit with these people again someday.
I know there’s a movie, and it’s on Amazon prime right now, so I’m sure I’ll watch it soon. But I’m not sure I’m ready yet, as I really just want these characters to live in my mind as I imagine them for a little while.