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  • Writer's pictureMichaela Lawlor

Book Review: A MAN CALLED OVE (2012)

5/5 ⭐️

This story made me sob...happy tears, sad tears, and tears of laughter. Backman's writing is absolutely incredible and I can't wait to read more of his books. I actually saw the 2014 Swedish film adaptation of this book prior to reading it. I was in the middle of my MFA studying historical fiction screenplay with the use of flashbacks. My mentor recommended I watch/read the film to see how the screenwriter incorporated flashbacks into the story. I'm so glad he recommended it because it is probably one of my favorite stories of all time. Recently, my mom asked if I wanted to read the book with her and have a mini book club. We just finished it and watched the movie, and soon we plan to watch Otto, the American adaptation with Tom Hanks. The Swedish film was just as touching the second time as the first time, but now that I've read the book, I have a deeper appreciation for the story. Elements of a written story always get lost in translation when adapted for the screen, so to anyone who has not had the absolute pleasure of enjoying Backman's writing, read this book immediately. The film uses first-person voiceover from Ove, while the book was written in third person. I felt it was an interesting difference, especially when most of that beautiful language we experience from the book comes from that third-person narrative. For example, one of my favorite quotes from the book that gets repeated a few times is, “He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.” The movie missed the mark here. This is such a beautiful way to describe the love Ove and Sonja have. I suppose this review has been more about the movie than the book, but the book is pretty damn near perfect. I wouldn't change anything. This is a story I can see myself revisiting when I want to feel a sense of warmth and comfort - or even when I need a good cry. I'm excited to read other work by Backman and I can only hope it's as enchanting as A Man Called Ove. But, from what I hear about his other novels, I'm sure I'll be in for a good time. And more tears.

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