Those books are so fun to read! And my grandkids love them!
“But what about older grandkids, huh?” you ask. “Can’t you tell us about a good book for teenaged grandchildren?”
Well, indeed I can!
I have a terrific book for you to share with those grandkids. (And, I highly recommend that YOU read it, too! I absolutely loved it!!)
The book is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I’m only going to tell you a smidgeon about the plot because I don’t want to tell you everything. I want you and your grandkids to discover for yourselves the events of the story.
So. It’s about this cranky old man. (I believe he’s fifty-nine — and in my book that isn’t old!! In fact, I wish I were that young again!)
Everyone in his neighborhood thinks that Ove is the grumpiest man ever. And bitter. (He wasn’t bitter. He just didn’t go around grinning all of the time!)
Ove thinks he is surrounded by idiots.
Then, new neighbors move in next door. They accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox with their U-Haul. The wife is pregnant and chatty and their two daughters are almost over-the-top boisterous.
What follows is one of the most heart-warming stories about love, friendship, hard work, loss, an obnoxious cat — and the frustration of being interrupted time and again when trying to commit suicide.
In addition to being a great story, I love how Backman writes. He uses such fresh ways to say things. (Is it because he is Swedish?) Let me share a couple examples.
“These days he used only the kitchen and the little room leading off it, while the entire second floor was slowly being turned into a recreational stamping ground for mice.”
“She is standing on the step, wrapped in a gray cardigan. It looks as if it’s trying to grab hold of her body, like two hands clutching a wet bar of soap.”
“And that laughter of hers, which, for the rest of his life, would make him feel as if someone was running around barefoot inside his breast.”
Can’t you just see the rickety rat-filled house that Ove lived in? How thin Anita is in her gray sweater? And how love-struck Ove is over Sonia? Beautiful writing!! (I wish I wrote like that . . . maybe I’ll move to Sweden . . .)
Backman uses understatements a lot. And because he does, it is more powerful than blathering on for one hundred words trying to describe something: honesty, having principles, true love, grief.
He writes so you clearly see Ove’s neighborhood, what Ove is like, what his neighbors are like, and the trials they all are experiencing. You come to feel that you know everyone intimately and that everyone is part of your life, of your own neighborhood.
There were quite a few time that my heart melted and leaked out through my eyes. I cried for Ove. For his wife Sonia. For his friends Rune and Anita. And for a host of other people in the book.
When you finish the book, you’ll probably sit there for a few moments basking in the good feelings you’re having. That everything turned out so good.
Now, hurry! Go tell your teenaged grandchildren to check this book out of the library (if someone else hasn’t already checked it out.) Share your favorite passages with each other. Talk about what’s happening in the book. Discuss how Ove acted, and why.
I absolutely loved this book. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book I’ve enjoyed so much.
So, read this book together with a grandchild or two and enjoy it!