A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

During our lives we have all come across those people, the bitter ones. The ones we say “if they smiled their face would crack” or “they haven’t got a smile for a dog” but, what if we stop for a minute a look a bit closer. What if that man/woman that we dismiss as bitter actually has a story to tell and it isn’t the fact they are bitter but it is in fact that throughout their life things have happened and they have had to survive or fight and they are not in fact bitter at all but just cautious.

“People had always said that Ove was ‘bitter’. But he wasn’t bloody bitterSomething inside a man goes to pieces when he has to bury the only person who ever understood him. There is no time to heal that sort of wound.”

Ove lives by principal. Right is right and wrong is wrong. In Ove’s world emotion is not overly used and it most definitely has a time and place. Ove spends his life keeping people at arm’s length that is all except Sonja.

“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was colour. All the colour he had.”

However, now Sonja has gone and all Ove wants is to be with her but as we know that is not our decision to make and life has a funny way of changing the goal posts when it needs to even if we do not want it too.

Sometimes as much as we think that we are no longer needed or surplus to requirements it just takes one small act of kindness to shift that mindset. That one thing that makes that person feel they do in fact have a place in the world and they are needed all be it to teach someone to drive (mind you only in a Saab), bleed their radiators or reverse the bloody trailer although “How can anyone be incapable of reversing with a trailer, he asks himself”.

Suddenly that feeling of no longer being wanted changes. But do we really realise the impact that act of kindness has. What we may perceive as something small may in fact be a game changer for that person you have been kind to. That conversation you choose to have with Mr/Mrs Grumpy may be the only conversation they have had all day. So take a minute before you tar someone with the bitter brush and think they maybe they just want someone to talk to or they may just need a little working out and once you have you may come across a person who is not in fact grumpy or bitter but actually has a heart of gold or in Ove’s case a heart that is just too big.

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