Book Club: A Man Called Ove

Hello, everyone.  It’s time to discuss the first official book club selection for 2017: A Man Called Ove.  Even if you haven’t finished reading the book, feel free to come back here and post your thoughts either here or on the Facebook page after you’re done.

Let’s start off…

The Book Club Questions

  1.  What did you think of the book?
  2. Who was your favorite character in the book and why?
  3. With the story going back and forth between present day and the past, do you think the progression of the story was easy to read?
  4.   Ove is a unique character.  Did you find his character relatable?  If so, how?  Does he remind you of someone?  Does he remind you of yourself?
  5. Ove’s attempts at taking his own life fails every time.  Do you find the failures to be purely coincidental or maybe something more otherworldly happening?
  6. Ove went from wanting to die to wanting to live for today and fight for the people around him.  What were some of those significant markers that occurred that made him realize he wasn’t alone?
  7. The film “A Man Called Ove” was nominated for Best International Film at the Academy Awards this year.  Did you get to see it?  How did you like it?  Was Ove how you imagined him to be?  Did the film do the book justice?
  8. What was your favorite part of the book?

My Answers

  1. I really enjoyed this book.  It was very comical with incredible characters.
  2. I loved Parvaneh.  She was always right in his face trying to make sure that Ove did right for himself and for others.  She was the right relationship he needed to come into his life.  She was the daughter he never had.  I also loved the cat.  That cat was something else.  When he walked in and knocked down the pills, it was like he was saying, “I know what you’re trying to do, so stop it!”  I also loved that he went wherever Ove went.  Who takes their cat everywhere they go?  It wasn’t even Ove’s cat!
  3. I liked the progression of the story.  In my other book club, there were some people that did not like the way it went back and forth.  For me, I liked that it would leave a  little detail that made you question what happened and then the next chapter would explain what happened in the past.  It’s a lot like having a conversation with someone.  You are trying to explain how X happened, but then realize you need to fill in the historical context.  I liked learning about Ove’s history as the author tried to explain how he got to be the way he is now.
  4. Ove is a little on the weird side, but I saw a little of myself in him.  How people don’t know how to change a tire mindboggles me.  That was the first lesson I ever had when I started driving…you have to know how to change the tire on a car.  You have to know how to parallel park.  In Ove’s tirade, you need to know how to back up a car with a trailer hooked up behind it.  Life for Ove is very hands on and mechanical.  He expresses his emotions and who he is as a human being by doing things for others.  He shows he cares by repairing fences, fixing cars, teaching people how to drive, etc.  He is not one to be emotional or affectionate.  He shows he cares by doing things.  The man has a big heart, even if he acts like he doesn’t care.  You know he does.  I have a friend that says she hates people, but I find her to be the most compassionate person when it comes to people.  She’s always out helping the homeless, her family, her friends, etc.  She acts like she doesn’t care, but she really does.
  5. Ove trying to kill himself made me laugh every single time he failed at it.  I really loved that part of the story.  The fact the fail happened over and over and over again makes it look like there was something otherworldly trying to stop him from taking his life.  One person from my book club thought that his wife was looking out for him by sending all of these people into his life so that he knew he was not alone and that the world still needed him.  I can definitely see that.
  6. Parvaneh was a huge part of letting him know he wasn’t alone.  Just her arrival with her husband and kids was a huge marker.  The fact that her husband doesn’t know how to do anything shows that they need Ove to help them with ‘the simple stuff.’  Parvaneh needing to learn how to drive shows that Ove is still needed (like teaching your own daughter how to drive for the first time).  The two girls look up to him as a grandfather.  They become the grandkids he never had.  The two teenagers made Ove remember the compassion of his wife and the things she did for the children.  Jimmy didn’t have anyone to look up to except Sonja, Ove, Rune and Anita.  Jimmy didn’t want to be forgotten so he tried to patch things up in a subtle way between all parties.  Ove finding out from Jimmy that they had kept Rune’s condition quiet helped pave the way towards two friends rekindling their friendship.
  7. I saw the film and enjoyed it immensely.  They did not fit in the entire story and made a few subtle changes, but they weren’t so bad as to step completely away from the book.  The book though was better.  Ove in the film was exactly how I imagined him to be.
  8. My favorite part of the book was when Ove hit Parvaneh in the nose.  That’s when I fell in love with her character.

Next Book Club Selection

Our next book club selection is “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom.  We’ll begin discussion of the book on May 1st.  I hope you’ll join us.

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