Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of A Man Called Ove.
Did you enjoy the first part of the book this week? It took me about a chapter to get into the story, but after that, I was totally hooked. I couldn't stop reading! How did you feel about Ove in the first chapters? He didn't make an overly great impression in the first chapter, and he definitely isn't the typical protagonist that I see in books.
At the beginning, I was a little confused about Ove's wife. I thought she was probably dead, but he kept describing things he did for her in the present tense, so I wasn't completely sure. It wasn't until Backman finally described Ove touching his wife's headstone that I knew for sure that she was no longer with Ove. Wasn't that so incredibly heartbreaking when he caressed her headstone and said that he missed her? The tenderness was so different than his typical outward demeanor. I think that scene was the first (of many) scenes that made me a little teary.
What did you think of Ove's neighbors who backed into his mailbox with their trailer? They seemed so friendly, but they were completely clueless. I don't think I would have been able to face Ove again after the fit he threw at them. He was so mean! I couldn't believe the way he spoke to them. It was really nice that they tried to reach out to him with food after the whole incident.
I really liked the chapters that gave backstory for Ove. I thought his relationship with his dad was fascinating. I loved how he said he wanted to be "as little unlike his father as possible." I thought that was really nice. The wallet story was interesting since it showed so much about Ove's character. I think it really showed why rules and following the rules was so important to him. The Tom character was so horrible. He really was the worst--I couldn't believe how often he showed up in Ove's backstory. I was glad when Ove finally punched Tom and got him out of his hair.
I think my favorite parts of this section were the times when Ove described his wife as being the only color in his life. She sounded like such a beautiful woman, and I loved how Backman described her as being everything colorful that Ove needed. My least favorite part of the section may have been when the authorities let Ove's family house burn down since it was between jurisdictions. That was horrible. Could you believe they could just stand there and let the house burn down without trying to help at all?
Were you surprised when Ove attempted suicide the first time? I didn't see it coming. I had no idea why he kept talking about getting a hook and hanging it correctly. That was unexpected. I was so glad that his neighbors kept interrupting, so he kept pushing his attempts back. I hope he doesn't succeed by the end of the book.
What do you think will happen with Ove's neighbors in the next section? He's already gotten closer to Parveneh and Patrick since he helped them after Patrick fell off the ladder. Do you think they will continue to put themselves in Ove's daily life? What about Rune and his wife? He helped Anita with the radiator---do you think he will commit to doing more? What do you think happened with him and Rune anyway? Do you really think they got mad at each other over car models?
Did I leave anything out that you really enjoyed? Make sure to leave a comment to let me know what you liked best about this section. And, let me know if you have any guesses about what might happen in the next section!
Before you go, check out this video clip in which actor, J.K. Simmons talks about why he wanted to narrate the audio book version of the book!
I hope you'll join us again next week as we talk about the next thirteen chapters!