The Book Blab Episode 6: A Man Called Ove Book Discussion, Plus Two Readalikes (with show notes)

May 30, 2016

Ever since Suzanne and I started The Book Blab, I've been worried about the possibility of technological difficulties. Technology has never been my thing, but at least with a blog, if I have issues, I can get them all sorted out without anyone knowing there even were issues. But the blab is live and we have a set time to go on air, so we can't afford to have problems. But on Thursday, we had problems. I guess I should be grateful that it's taken until episode 6 before we ran into any major difficulties, but it was still really frustrating.

For some reason, my mic wasn't connecting to my computer, so Suzanne couldn't hear me. My technical skills are limited to "find headphones jack; plug in headphones; talk." So when I wasn't being heard, I didn't know what to do. I tried a different set of headphones without success. Finally I switched to our older laptop and got things working, but I had to open a new blab, which was such a bummer because it meant that anyone who wanted to watch the live show and participate didn't get the chance, and I'm so sorry about that!!! I wish I could say it will never happen again, but I don't have that much confidence in myself, especially since I still don't really know what the issue was.

Anyway, even though we can no longer get your real-time responses to the questions, we would still love for you to participate in the comments. Please share your reaction to the story, opinions about the characters, how many times you laughed or cried, etc. Let's keep this discussion going!

0:50 - Suzanne finished her master's degree!
1:54 - This month's topic: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
3:25 - Spoiler-free plot summary
5:54 - What is your favorite funny moment?
  • 6:28 - Saab references
  • 8:36 - Ipad scene
10:40 - How did you feel about the structure of the novel? How did it influence the way you thought about Ove?
  • 12:00 - Brilliant emotional manipulation
  • 13:05 - True to real life
13:45 -  Does Ove's personality change during the course of the story? Is it influenced by Sonja or, later, Parveneh?
  • 14:43 - Ove's personality doesn't change, but our perspective of him does.
  • 16:08 - His friends learn how to interact with him.
17:45 - There are several interesting marriages in this book. What makes them work?
  • 17:55 - Ove and Sonja
  • 20:00 - Parveneh and Patrick
22:27 - How did you feel about Parveneh's character? Was she rude and invasive? Or should more people be like her?
  • 23:28 - Is their friendship realistic?
  • 25:40 - Introverts and extroverts
26:58 - What was your takeaway from the book?
  • 27:30 - "We can busy ourselves with living or dying."
  • 28:45 - You can't judge people when you don't know the backstory.
30:20 - Two similar recommendations to A Man Called Ove
  • 30:46 - Suzanne's recommendation
  • 33:00 - Amy's recommendation
36:05 - Conclusion

Links from the show:

Suzanne's review of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Suzanne's review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Amy's review of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Thanks for watching! And again, we'd love for you to chime in with your questions, thoughts, and opinions in the comments! We'll be back in about a month with another fun discussion about books!


  1. So glad you were able to get it working! I absolutely loved hearing the different perspectives and insights on this book.I loved your question, Amy, about why Ove hadn't had the same softening of heart towards people when he was married to Sonja as when he met Parveneh. I thought the insight Suzanne had about marriage and Sonja being that other half for him was very thought-provoking. I also think that the daughter-like relationship with Parveneh is true to life in that the younger generation often can have a profound effect on older generations.
    I also loved the character development of Ove that left me wanting to be more understanding of people. The funniest part of the book, for me was the trip to the hospital (from the parking dispute, to the clown incident, to the snack stop and the newspaper seat covers). It had me laughing so hard.

    1. I'm glad you commented, Amanda, and shared some of your insights as well! I agree, the trip to the hospital was so funny!


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