Tag Archives: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove and one similarly-aged woman’s opinion

Ove is fifty-nine. So, currently, is Dona.

That’s probably the only similarity between the two. Ove would hate book groups, Ove doesn’t read much, except maybe manuals. Dona loves books and enjoys her book group. Dona also loves electronics. Ove doesn’t trust them. Ove likes cars. And order. And following rules.

A Man Called Ove coverDona really wanted to read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman so she chose it for book group when it was her time to host. She thought it would be similar to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. It wasn’t really. It was readable — very readable. Dona enjoyed reading A Man Called Ove. She liked most of the characters and the situations and the writing style was easy to read. But The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was so much fuller than A Man Called Ove.

But here is what Dona didn’t like about A Man Called Ove. The author (currently thirty-four if you believe Google) seems to have little idea what fifty-nine year old people are like or capable of doing. He’s made Ove seem much older than fifty-nine — maybe somewhere in his seventies. His similarly-aged neighbor Rune is portrayed as being skinny and bent over when he’d been fit enough to scare drug dealers a decade or so before. Granted Rune has dementia, but it doesn’t seem quite right that he’s gone from being strong and large in his forties to being skinny and bent over in his late fifties. Ove doesn’t always act like he is in his seventies — he uses his strength on more than one occasion, but generally, as a fifty-nine year old Dona thinks that the author has written off the older generation as basically useless. The occasions where Ove uses his strength are accompanied with an explanation why he is strong. The only people in the book that are past their forties are either dead, sick, unable to cope or depressed and all but one is retired. Sure, Backman makes some under-forty-year-old folks incompetent (as seen through Ove’s eyes), but he doesn’t make the entire under-forty crowd one-dimensional.

Dona is glad she read the A Man Called Ove (and even saw the film, thanks to connections) but she is annoyed at Mr. Backman for portraying her generation as being far less able than his generation.