A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman
Imagine Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino (the movie, not the book). His wife has died; he’s depressed. He’s kind of given up on life except for these pesky neighbors who are foisting their problems upon him. Now put him in Sweden, give him an interesting backstory and suicidal tendencies (that are comical—stay with me here) and you’ve got A Man Called Ove. I loved every page of this quirky book. If you’ve recently lost a spouse, it might not be the book for you, but otherwise it’s a winner. You will love Ove, appreciate his OCD-edness, admire his loyalty and laugh at his ability to say the absolutely wrong thing at the right time. FoxTale’s book club read it, and there was not a bad mouther in the group. A Man Called Ove is a book to be universally loved.
THE ALLIANCE by Jolina Petersheim
In the category of “write what you know,” Jolina Petersheim has met us halfway. What she knows is growing up Mennonite. What she doesn’t know is what happens if a Mennonite community has its values challenged by a society run amok by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse,) rendering all things electrical now useless. Would those who have learned to live off the land be attacked by city dwellers who are so dependent on the technology they are now deprived of? Would a pacifist community fight to protect its own? It’s an interesting premise and one that Jolina explores with a deft hand. My only criticism is that The Alliance is the first in a trilogy of books, and I’m dying to read the next one already! For readers of Hunger Games, and lovers of dystopian novels, dive into Petersheim’s The Alliance and got lost in another world that might be ours one day.