For the record let me clarify something. I don't write reviews. When I visit a new bookstore, it's for the sheer pleasure of discovery and love of books and all things related. I would consider what I do more along the lines of observing and reporting. And if you want to know the whole truth, I don't generally look forward to the writing itself. It's the bookstore experience that is the fun part. The writing is simply a necessary component.
I don't generally review books either. I read books. I recommend books to friends. I discuss books. But review books? Nah! Writing book reviews is not a skill I claim to possess. That said, every once in a while a book comes along that touches me in such a way that I feel compelled to share some feelings about it. One such book is A Man Called Ove, a first novel for Swedish author, Fredrik Backman.
Ove is a curmudgeon. Overly obsessed with rules, Overly annoying to his neighbors, Overly preoccupied with strict routines, Ove is one of the most engaging characters I have encountered. He mostly keeps to himself, and those around him like it that way. But things are about to change, and since I detest spoilers, that is all the plot you will get from me--except to say that there is a cat.
Ove is also a philosopher of sorts. Some very poignant thoughts come from his bitter, cranky brain. Like this one: ". . . all people at root are time optimists. We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'."
This book had me laughing out loud and crying within the space of a page. It had me reflecting on life, and it gave me a new appreciation for my husband's endearing quirks. This is not a review of A Man Called Ove so much as it is an enthusiastic recommendation. If you found Walt Kowalski inspirational and enjoyed the movie Gran Torino, you will love this book. Five Stars from this non-reviewer.