Not many books make me cry.
I can probably count on one hand the number of books that have seriously made me cry.
I’ve cried to the Harry Potter books and to Anne of Green Gables (Matthew!), to name my first two book-crying-cases that come to mind.
And then I read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
Waterworks my friends. Waterworks.
(Sidenote: don’t be put off by my crying. I don’t read sad books (typically) and I would definitely let you know before recommending one.)
The synopsis (in part) from Amazon: “Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse…A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.”
(The movie’s good too.)
I instantly felt connected with the characters, especially the main character Ove (let’s not discuss the fact that I related so much to an elderly, male, Swedish, curmudgeon).
Backman is a Swedish writer and that’s where his books are set. He captures the complexities of relationships and life in stories that are hard to put down and filled with humor, wit and unforgettable characters.
So, when I say I cried, it was in sudden bursts of unexpected tears that completely surprised me and were in response to Backman’s ability to elicit a powerful human reaction from me (not-elderly, female, American, curmudgeon).
While I love A Man Called Ove, it’s tied as my favorite of Backman’s books with My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.
Amazon’s synopsis (again, in part): Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend…When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins…It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.
Guys, I really, REALLY love this book. As a unique and fanciful kid who grew up to a unique and fanciful adult, this book spoke so much to my soul.
I’ve read Backman’s other books as well, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, and the novella And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. While they’re all very good books and equally well written, I just didn’t connect with them the way I did with the first two I mentioned.
So, there you have it. My first author review.
If you’re looking for some entertaining summer reads (or anytime reads!) then I 100% suggest Backman. Just be prepared to wait a bit if you’re getting them from the library! They’re very popular!