I have mentioned the term “ya ya books” in previous posts. It means that a book you are reading is so good, so engrossing, that if anyone tries to speak to you while reading, all you can do is to flap one hand irritatedly at them, indicating that they should shut up immediately and go away.
“A Man Called Ove” is such a book. Written by Fredrik Backman, it is the story of one grumpy old Swedish guy, hidebound in his thinking, ideals, values, and in fact every aspect of life. He is much more than he seems, and his story encompasses so much–I found myself alternately laughing and weeping while reading it.
Mind you, it isn’t a really sad book, but a combination of things funny, sweet, endearing, heart-breaking, and poignant. Reading it is a lot like picking up an ugly chocolate by chance, and, because you don’t want to seem boorish for putting it back in the box, you bite into it…..and it’s the single best, most delicious, most unexpectedly amazing chocolate you’ve ever eaten.
Here’s a passage from the book that I just loved (and for your information, it’s on page 305):
“Loving someone is like moving into a house,” Sonja used to say. “At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed that every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake has been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of its perfection, but rather for its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it’s cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home.”
If you are a dedicated reader as I am, books are your daily bread. When you become immersed in one that holds you captive page by page, it becomes part of you. It’s a lot like meeting someone for the first time; you’re not always sure that you’ll like them or be able to forge a friendship with them. But when you let them into your heart, they are there forever. They become part of who you are, and often they change the very map of your life.
This book sort of sinks into your soul and lingers there for as long as it takes for you to let it go. It is compelling because you want to stay with it and in it for as long as you can–but you still can’t wait to reach the last page. When you do, you may cry as much as I did because I didn’t want it to end.
After finishing the book, I feel as if I’ve met someone who became important to me, and now I never want them to leave. This book touched me so deeply that I need to wait a day or so to start a new one. I’m not finished living in “A Man Named Ove” yet.
Please read this book. It will change your life.