I read once that (paraphrase here from my memory) it is impossible to hate someone if you know his or her story.
At first, I didn’t really like Ove, a grumpy and routine-based elderly man featured in A Man Called Ove: A Novel though I did find him an amusing character. Here’s a sampling of Ove:
“Ove is the sort of man who checks the status of all things by giving them a good kick.”
“Ove doubts whether someone who can’t park a car properly should even be allowed to vote.”
Likewise, I knew Ove would not be a fan of me, exampled by this:
“How can anyone be incapable of reversing with a trailer? he asks himself. How? How difficult is it to establish the basics of right and left and then do the opposite? How do these people make their way through life at all?”
However, as Ove’s “story” was revealed to me, I started liking him. And I felt that his character would eventually become tolerant of me as well…though I am 99% sure I’ll never learn to back-up a trailer, also a disappointment to my husband!
It is about unlikely friends saving each other. It is about community in the best sense: People who are not family becoming a sort of family.
And it got me thinking about that grumpy person you know: what is his or her story? Deep down most of them have a good heart. I can certainly say so about the grumpy people I have known!
The story is set in Sweden like another favorite (The Invoice) I read last year, and although they are not similar in most ways, I did find a certain charm in both of these books.
This book inspired a movie A Man Called Ove (English Subtitled) which was nominated for an academy award for best foreign language film. I hope to watch the movie soon.
So take a chance and get to know grumpy old Ove; you, like me, may be surprised how much you end up liking him!
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