This week, I have been listening to another book about a senior citizen during my commutes. Ove, which sounds like Oove, is a Swedish Man who is recalling his life as he plans to kill himself to join his recently departed, beloved wife.
Ove has a routine and sticks to it. He obsesses over making sure the radiators are turned down, ensuring the shed is locked and chasing down cars that are driving in the residential area. The reader quickly learns that he is interested in details and doing a job right. His plans keep getting thwarted as he builds stronger relationships with others.
Ove is frustrated by incompetence and is in disbelief when the new neighbour not only backs his trailer into his house but cannot complete simple tasks like unsticking his windows without an accident. Ove feels that he must help this family. He has a number of different plans for ending his life but keeps becoming distracted by those around him who end up becoming a part of his life.
He is challenged by his Iranian neighbour, her two little girls and the incompetent husband. He chuckles at the teenage boy who wants to fix a bike to win over a girl and puzzles about the boy’s friend who is afraid to tell his dad that he is gay. He tries to avoid the persistent cat who keeps showing up. He continues the petty feud with his neighbour Rune, all the while helping others and doing kind things quietly, including saving a man’s life, driving a neighbour to hospital (multiple times) and getting involved in trying to keep Rune from being institutionalized.
Ove reflects on his sad, young life full of loss and hard work which developed him into a “good man” and made a difference to those around him. He may have had a crusty exterior but he was soft on the inside and cared about others.
This was a heartwarming story and I found myself laughing aloud and smiling on my drive. This proves that this book is worth listening to since the drives have been so congested and slow lately.