I meet a very interesting man this past week. He was not always the most pleasant of men. He is kind of set in his ways and had just lost his wife 6 months ago. Most of his neighbors had no idea who he was. He was ‘retired’ from his job. He was having a hard time finding a reason to go on.
If this sound familiar to you, you have probably already meet Ove in Fredrick Backman’s delightful book, A Man called Ove. I know I am way behind in reading this little book, but am so glad I had the chance to get to know and fall in love with him.
There really isn’t much to this book. It is a quirky, funny, compelling story about a man who has given up on life and yet seems to be, as one of the characters says, “very bad at dying.” In a very gentle way, this book reminded me that I should get to know someone’s story before I make judgements on who they are and why the act the way they do.
Not only did those who surrounded Ove in the neighborhood make those judgements about him, he actually was guilty of it also. No preaching, no making the character feel bad because of those choices, Fredrick just gently lead us in the direction we should have gone while make the judgement.
As I listened to this book back and forth to work this week, it kept reminding me that I know people like Ove and I need to make sure I reach out to them. It was a refreshing way to be reminded. No judgements, just corrections in my thinking. We just never know when we will make a huge difference in one person’s life.
P.S. Yes there is language in the book. To be honest it fit Ove’s character so well I had a hard time being offended by it. Besides the laughter it caused really made it all the more entertaining.