Yesterday, we came back from our vacation, and I am exhausted. A vacation at the beach with three kids is always fun, but hardly ever relaxing. But that is not the reason for my exhaustion. I blame it on the weather. Because on the very last evening, it was cool enough to open the window and listen to the ocean instead of the air conditioning. And what better way to enjoy the sound of the waves while reading? Well, I picked A Man Called Ove, and after about 50 pages, I knew that I would not be able to stop reading until I had finished the book.
At first glance, Ove is a grumpy old man, the kind who walks around looking for people breaking the rules. He makes sure no cars drive in the residential area, the recycling is properly separated from the regular garbage, and all bikes are parked inside the bike shed. There is a proper tool for every type of repair and only one proper car to drive (a Saab). He refers to most people (and animals) by nicknames: the Lanky One, the Blond Weed, the White Shirt, the Cat Annoyance. The names he picks are always short, but always descriptive, and they made me laugh because they were very appropriate.
Ove admits that he sees the world in black and white, and the only person who truly understood him and brought color into his world is no longer with him. Which is why I started crying around page 80 and then pretty much didn’t stop until the end—aside from the laughter inbetween. Because Ove isn’t really all that grumpy. He’s had a lot of heartbreak in his life, and that has made him angry at times. But still, he always does what is right, even if he doesn’t want to be bothered. Which is why he ends up with a pet (Ove doesn’t like it but it needed a home), a gay roommate (Ove doesn’t like him either, but he also needed a home), and a sort-of daughter and grandchildren (who make him eat rice with saffron rather than the potatoes and sausages he’s been eating most of his life). I was so happy that love for all these people and the cat crept up on Ove, because he fully deserved the happiness they brought him.
I’m not sure what time it was when I was done with the book, but I know I didn’t get much sleep. But it was totally worth it! And if you don’t believe me, go read The Paperback Princess’ (Eva’s) review of it.