Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Page To Screen: A Man Called Ove

Everlasting love and romance can seem such a fantasy. Especially within the movies and books showcasing scandalous affairs and love struck tragedies. As much fun it is to imagine such passionate adventures, it takes a story like A Man Called Ove, by Fredik Backman,  to simply say love and romance is here you ninnies so shut your slobberin’ yappin’ mouth and get some work done.

In a small, gated community in Europe, one of the most cantankerous old misers, named Ove, holds guard over the community. He makes sure no cars are parked longer than the allotted time, the cans are properly sorted, and everyone follows the rules. He is not the most well-loved citizen in the community so everyone steers clear. Which suits Ove fine because he doesn’t plan to stay on this earth very long. Except his well laid plans to take his own are thwarted as one new family moves in and just causes utter chaos. Deeming it more important for common sense and rules to be followed, Ove is forced to confront the strange, the unpredictable, and the amazing.

There is darn good reason this book has been floating among the book club selections across the world. This story, despite its strange beginning, is a tale of pure love. Love from your partner, your friends, allies, and even a scrappy little cat. The book is a well-mixed bag of wry humor, chivalry, kindness, cats, and antics. A surprising number of antics given how small the community is. Even just as important as the love and romance is the over all lesson to follow your passion and do what is right. Ove was a fantastic champion of that.  He cares a lot, even when he was grumbling and yelling curses at people.

By far is Ove the hero that everyone first imagines but he is the hero that we should all look for. His grumpiness thinly masks a person brimming with compassion and the need to protect those around him.  Whether or not they are strangers or drive him absolutely bonkers. He is quite simply, the most refreshing romantic lead I have ever read.

It was no wonder that this romantic gem was adapted to the movie. Of course, as with any adaptation there were some changes. The changes were pretty mild and the movie did keep the major plots. The movie did hit all of the key scenes and I appropriately bawled my eyes out at the right moments.

What the movie did not translate very well was depth of love and conviction has for his family and those around him. The movie adaptation completely lacked the rich romance of it all. Then again that is not surprising. The power of the book is that the reader is able to see the beautiful mind that is Ove though words not of his own. If it was up to the character, there would be no book as we should mind our own business. As it were, the author is able to use poetic descriptions to capture a small fraction of Ove’s essence.

Most definitely read the book first. Watching the movie first without realizing the story would leave a more quaint but forgettable impression. Either way that is chosen, “ A Man Called Ove” must be experienced, either by words or film.

One comment

  1. Edo Bosnar

    Oh, man. This is like reading one of Hatcher’s columns. Now there is both a book I need to read and a movie to see. Thanks for the nice write-up, Toni, and the recommendations…

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