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A Man Called Ove By Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

By Fredrik Backman

PBR Book Review:

Ove is a "don't judge a book by its cover kind of man." When you first meet - he is different - the self-appointed mayor of the neighborhood who performs a series of daily tasks that annoy. He notices everything. He barks at the slightest infraction. He is steadfast and arduous. But as the story progresses, you stop seeing his arrogant manner. Like a beautiful sunrise, he gradually warms your heart, then steals it. Don't miss this beautiful transformation. It's a delightful tale that is both sad and happy.

Book Club Talking Points:

Ove doesn't just show us how to be non-judgmental, but also what the true meaning of family and friendship is. Other themes that run through this book are love, coping with loss and obtaining balance in life. What is it that turns quirky habits into endearing qualities (or vise versa)?

| More Buy From Amazon.com

*Author Website: http://authors.simonandschuster.com:80/Fredrik-Backman/411545926

*Other Books by Same Author: Britt-Marie Was Here, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry.

*Discussion Questions



Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. How does the opening scene, in which Ove attempts to purchase a computer, succinctly express the main points of Ove's ongoing battle with the stupidities of the modern world?

2. Ove loves things that have a purpose, that are useful. How does this worldview fail him when he believes himself to be useless? How is he convinced that he can still be useful?

3. As readers, we get to know Ove slowly, with his past only being revealed piece by piece. What surprised you about Ove's past? Why do you think the author revealed Ove's past the way that he did?

4. We all know our own grumpy old men. How do Ove's core values lead him to appear as such a cranky old coot, when he is in fact nothing of the sort? Which of these values do you agree or disagree with?

5. Although Ove has some major "disagreements" with the way the world turned out, there are some undeniable advantages to the modernization he finds so hollow. How do these advantages improve Ove's life, even if he can't admit it?

6. Parveneh's perspective on life, as radically different from Ove's as it is, eventually succeeds in breaking Ove out of his shell, even if she can't change his feelings about Saabs. How does her brash, extroverted attitude manage to somehow be both rude and helpful?

7. Ove strives to be "as little unlike his father as possible." Although this emulation provides much of the strength that helps Ove persevere through a difficult life, it also has some disadvantages. What are some of the ways that Ove grows into a new way of thinking over the course of the book?

8. Ove is a believer in the value of routine-how can following a routine be both comforting and stultifying? How can we balance routine and spontaneity? Should we? Or is there sense in eating sausage and potatoes your whole life?

9. The truism "it takes a village to raise a child" has some resonance with A Man Called Ove. How does the eclectic cast of posers, suits, deadbeats, and teens each help Ove in their own way?

10. Although we all identify with Ove to some extent, especially by the end of the story, we certainly also have our differences with him. Which of the supporting cast (Parveneh, Jimmy, the Lanky One, Anita) did you find yourself identifying with most?

11. What did you make of Ove's ongoing battle with the bureaucracies that persist in getting in his way? Is Ove's true fight with the various ruling bodies, or are they stand-ins, scapegoats, for something else?

12. On page 113, after a younger Ove punches Tom, the author reflects: "A time like that comes for all men, when they choose what sort of men they want to be." Do you agree with this sentiment, especially in this context? How does the book deal with varying ideas of masculinity?

13. On page 246, the author muses that when people don't share sorrow, it can drive them apart. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

14. What do you think of Ove's relationship with the mangy cat he adopts? What does the cat allow him to express that he couldn't otherwise say?

15. On Ove and Sonja's trip to Spain, Ove spends his time helping the locals and fixing things. How does Ove the "hero" compare and contrast to his behavior in the rest of the book? Is that Ove's true personality?

16. Ove and Sonja's love story is one of the most affecting, tender parts of the book. What is the key to their romance? Why do they fit so well together?

17. Saab? Volvo? BMW? Scania?

Enhance Your Book Club



1. Grumpy old men like Ove pop up in various forms throughout popular culture. Have a movie night for your group, and screen a film that reminds you of Ove. Perhaps try About Schmidt, As Good as It Gets, Up, or, obviously, Grumpy Old Men. Examine how the characters differ from Ove, or share his grouchy worldview. How did what you watched change the way you thought about the book? Alternatively, screen a movie you think Ove would enjoy, like a Saab commercial.

2. Parveneh and the rest of Ove's neighbors succeed in breaking Ove out of his shell by encouraging him to reengage with people, and with life. Many of the crotchety oldsters in our lives could use a similar kind of encouragement-reach out to someone you know who could use a little company, either solo or with your group. Discuss your experiences, sharing what you learned from the Ove in your world.

3. Much of the story of Ove's life remains untold. Imagine a scene from Ove's life that we didn't see, and try your hand at writing it out. Short or long, funny or serious, do your best to get into Ove's head and depict an event that led him to become the lovable pain in the neck that we meet in the book.

17. Saab? Volvo? BMW? Scania?

Enhance Your Book Club



1. Grumpy old men like Ove pop up in various forms throughout popular culture. Have a movie night for your group, and screen a film that reminds you of Ove. Perhaps try About Schmidt, As Good as It Gets, Up, or, obviously, Grumpy Old Men. Examine how the characters differ from Ove, or share his grouchy worldview. How did what you watched change the way you thought about the book? Alternatively, screen a movie you think Ove would enjoy, like a Saab commercial.

2. Parveneh and the rest of Ove's neighbors succeed in breaking Ove out of his shell by encouraging him to reengage with people, and with life. Many of the crotchety oldsters in our lives could use a similar kind of encouragement-reach out to someone you know who could use a little company, either solo or with your group. Discuss your experiences, sharing what you learned from the Ove in your world.

3. Much of the story of Ove's life remains untold. Imagine a scene from Ove's life that we didn't see, and try your hand at writing it out. Short or long, funny or serious, do your best to get into Ove's head and depict an event that led him to become the lovable pain in the neck that we meet in the book.

Share your stories with your group! - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com:80/A-Man-Called-Ove/Fredrik-Backman/9781476738017/reading_group_guide#rgg

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)
Book Summary
Read the New York Times bestseller that has taken the world by storm!

In this "charming debut" (People) from one of Sweden's most successful authors, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

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. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

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. "If there was an award for 'Most Charming Book of the Year,' this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down" (Booklist, starred review). - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com:80/A-Man-Called-Ove/Fredrik-Backman/9781476738017#sthash.jGeoURKr.dpuf

352 pages | ISBN 9781476738017 | July 2014
 
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