A Man Called Ove

Overall Content



Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking


Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty


Violence, Weapons, Blood, Crime


Potentially Intense Themes


A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman

At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet, a curmudgeon with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People think him bitter, and he thinks himself surrounded by idiots.
Ove’s well-ordered, solitary world gets a shake-up one November morning with the appearance of new neighbors- a chatty young couple and their two boisterous daughters- who announce their arrival by accidentally flattening Ove’s mailbox with their U-Haul. What follows is a heartwarming reassessment of the one person they thought they had all figured out.
Excerpt is from the book cover.


B******-  10

D***- 22

H***- 22

A**- 5

S***- 17

F***- 1

Cursing is often referred to but no words are given.

“Bloody” is often used as an expletive.

Religious cursing-


G**- 8

J****- 2

Raising their middle finger- 4

Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking

A man remembers his mother smoking and her hoarse voice because of the smoking.

A man remembers his dad at a party drinking a few bottles of pilsner.

Men are referenced drinking bottles of pilsner.

A man never wants to join his coworkers for a beer.

Two men drink whiskey after a win.

While driving a car, a man smokes.  This happens many times.

A small group of women are smoking menthol cigarettes.

A woman’s father smokes a pipe.

A man tells his wife to not give money to beggars because they’ll only buy schnapps.

Two men have whiskey after dinner.

One man gifts another man with half a bottle of whiskey.

A man offers another man whiskey, he turns it down.  The man later goes back for it.

After giving a homeless man money, a woman is told he’ll only spend it on schnapps.

An investor buys a house and rents it out to people who were supposedly drug addicts, prostitutes and criminals.  The house has broken beer bottles regularly on the walkway.

A group of people talk about planting marijuana in a man’s garage.

A woman gives a man a shot of tequila to calm him down.

Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty

Worried his house was set on fire, a man ends up outside in his underwear with a hammer in his hands.

A man walks around a changing room naked.

A man is offered help, another man looks at him as if he’s been asked if he has erectile dysfunction.  When suggested something else, he looks again at the man as if they’re in a dark alley and he’s been asked to show his “private parts.”

A woman becomes pregnant and marries the father months later.

A man asks a young man if he’s bent, or queer.  There is then a discussion if it’s allowed to ask someone this, and how and what correct terms to use; gay, homosexual and LGBT are what’s decided.  Later, a man refers to the heater as a fairy, meaning it’s as useless as a homo.

A man decides to strip down to his underpants and socks in his living room.  At the same time, two men show up at his house and he opens his front door, holding a rifle and scares them off.

Two men get married.  They adopt a baby girl soon after.

Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood

A man steals people’s personal belongings from an overturned luggage bag.  A boy sees him do it and the man almost punches him.  He also steals money from one of the carriages and blames the boy (now older).  While yelling, “thief!” at the boy, a man is slapped by another man to shut him up.

Someone throws a rock through a man’s window.

A salesman cons a young man into giving him home insurance money. The salesman is never heard of again.

A man opens a door so violently that it breaks the woman’s nose that is standing in front of it.

A man hits another man for stealing something of his.

A man falls off a ladder and breaks many bones.

A man hits a clown.

A man yells at another man, yanks him out of a car and pushes him hard against the car.

In his living room, a man is startled by two men.  He is in just socks and underwear and grabs a gun to scare the men.  He charges at the door and kicks it open.  One of the men screams very loudly then runs off, almost knocking himself unconscious because he’s not watching where he’s running.  He runs into the toolshed and gets a large welt on his forehead.  The man with the gun continues to hold it out in front of him and while talking, another man comes closer so the barrel of the gun now hits him in the chest.

A man has sworn if any of his children are gay he will kill himself.  His son comes out to him and he throws him out.

While asking a neighbor to turn down his music, a man gets threatened by a knife.  Another neighbor yells at them and a beer bottle is thrown at them and into their house.  In revenge, one man gets a large amount of drugs and plants it on their property then “tips off” the police and the men are arrested.

A single mom is being beaten by her new boyfriend.  She has bruises and the neighbors can hear the yelling.  She has a 9 year old boy.  The boyfriend seems to always be intoxicated.  One night it was really bad, the boy crying, and the woman crying out in pain.  The neighbors intervened.  One punched the boyfriend in the nose so the boyfriend grabbed a kitchen knife but another neighbor punched him again.

A man sees a group of people trying to break into a house,  he yells at them and one swings something large at him.  He has a massive heart attack, explaining each jabbing pain.

Potentially Intense Themes

A boy’s father dies at the train yard where he worked.  A hurtling carriage on the track killed him.

A man talks to his dead wife regularly and still acts like she’s around.  He feels he should have “arranged” for his own death after her funeral.  He now plans to hang himself.  He plans for it with lots of detail, like putting plastic on the floor and walls just in case he bleeds.  He has his bills in order, his nicest clothes on, etc.    He then gets a rope, ties a noose and feels it tighten around his neck as he kicks away the stool.  The rope breaks and he falls to the floor.   He then stays up all night trying to come up with more ideas to kill himself. He decides to leave his car running and breath in the carbon monoxide.   He tries this but is interrupted by a neighbor.  He then tries to throw himself in front of a train.  Once again, he is very detailed about it; when to jump, thinking of the driver and how to make is less traumatic for him etc.  He stands in front of the train and breathes a sigh of relief that his life will soon be over.    It doesn’t work in his favor and he makes eye contact with the train driver who is absolutely terrified he was going to hit him.  The man thinks that because he made eye contact with him that he couldn’t do it anymore.  He didn’t want his “blood paste” on the man’s windshield.    Another time he decides to take some old painkillers.  He wonders if it’ll hurt, or if he’ll just go to sleep? He is then interrupted and puts the pills away.   One time he decides to use a rifle, he is once again interrupted.  He did have detailed plans about blood splatter and how to make it easy to clean up. He lays out tarps and strips down to his underwear and socks to prevent ruining his suit.

An elderly man tries to run back inside his burning house to save his grandchild.  A young man comes to help him and they both escape with the child and few injuries.  Two houses were destroyed.

A man has a seizure and falls onto the track of an oncoming train.  Another man jumps down and lifts him out.

A cat freezes in a snowdrift.  A small group of people try to warm him and help him.

A woman’s mother died when giving birth to her.  Her father dies later in the book. No specific details are given.  Her beloved cat is then hit by a car and killed.

A man and woman were in an accident.  The man describes the noises and feelings he endured.  The woman was pregnant and was in a coma for about a week after.  She also lost their unborn baby.  She also lost the use of her legs.

A young woman kicks a cat fiercely and wants to do it again but is interrupted.  She says she’s going to kill it.  To prevent this from happening again, a man puts some corrugated metal under some snow and electrifies it. “Like a bolt of lightning up your urethra.”  He states proudly.   Then he decides he shouldn’t and he moves it.

A man dies but it seems to be peaceful.

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