She often said that “all roads lead to something that you were always predestined to do.” And for her, perhaps, it was something. But for Ove it was someone.
Ove likes facts. He likes routine. And he doesn’t like change. So when the new neighbors run over his mailbox, it sends his world into upheaval. Suddenly a man who wanted nothing more than to grieve the loss of his wife is solving the neighborhoods problems: teaching the neighbor’s wife how to drive, running people to and from the hospital, nursing a sick cat back to health, and keeping the one man he could ever really call a friend from going into a home. Urged by the memory of his late wife Sylvia and what she would have expected from him, he had no choice but to help. And with each task he becomes less of a misanthrope and more a part of the community.
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 motivations 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 that 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. For the greatest fear of death is that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.
This was another one of those books that had been on my radar, I’d seen it on the shelves along with Fredrik Backman’s many other books. And I added it to my mental “to be read” list. When I over heard my boss suggesting it to someone in the hallway at work, it moved a little higher on my list. She and I swap books all the time, so I’ve come to trust her recommendations. However, this one didn’t hit home for me.
I was told I would love this book. I did not love this book. But I didn’t hate it. The story seemed to move very slow and had a way of revealing information that felt like pulling teeth. I was very pleased with the ending, but I don’t think the pay off was worth the arduous journey it took to get there. It did have some quirky humorous moments with a heartwarming redemption arc, but it is definitely one I will read once and never feel the need to revisit.
This book fulfills my “book club” bingo square: It was listed on the St. Louis Public Library Book Club List