You know when you finish a book and your mind is still going and thinking about the characters? What are they doing now? How are they getting along? And then reality hits and I know these people were just made up and disappointment sets in all over again like it did when I read the last page.
One of my colleagues once said she wouldn't read a book if she couldn't like the characters. But, I know that if an author has done his or her job, I can also grow to NOT like a character and still enjoy the book. I am always in awe of authors' abilities to weave their writing in words to create this beautiful tapestry I can hold in my hands. This book does not disappoint in this at all. You will eventually fall in love with Ove and his grumpy, analytical antics. Plus, you'll all of a sudden have an urge to own a Saab.
Here's one of my favorite parts from this story: (the love between Ove and Sonja was so sweet!)
"Loving someone is like moving into a house," Sonja used to say. "At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed 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 had 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 all its perfection, be 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."
Never have I ever compared love to moving into a house, but I see it now, thanks to this book. When I married my other half, I was excited to get to know him and discover what it was like to live with him. Now, as we approach our eleventh year of being married, there's a comfort to knowing him, just like I know when I close the front door, I have to push really hard to shut it completely. It's a constant that I'm okay not having to fix it.
My other half has a tendency to use paper towels a lot and then not throw them away. I find them all over the house in random places, like a Hansel and Gretel trail of breadcrumbs. I know exactly where he's been. But, I know I would miss this if he weren't around.
The windows in our kitchen don't stay open. They will all of a sudden shut on their own, as if a ghost had done it. We've now become so accustomed to it, it doesn't scare us anymore.
My guy snores when he sleeps on his back, so if I give him the slightest nudge to roll over he'll stop.
Our garage door controller doesn't work, and hasn't since we moved in ten years ago. We tried to fix it, and it stopped working soon after. We have to open the garage door by hand. My handyman puts the cars in and out of the garage each day. It's something simple he does that lets me know I'm loved.
My groom is ticklish in the strangest places, like his calves. Who is ticklish on their calves???
The left side of our house is shaded in the afternoon, which makes for the perfect playing/shady spot in the summer time.
My beloved gets self-conscious about the meals he eats because when he eats something with a strong ingredient, such as garlic or even Italian dressing; somehow, the ingredient lingers and seems to seep through is pores. He knows this happens because he'll walk through the door, kiss me hello, and soon after I say,"What did you have for lunch?"
I love that our house feels like a home. It can be cluttered, but that just means my children played and made memories that day. The sink can be full of dishes, but it shows we had food to put on the table. There's dog and at hair everywhere, but our lives wouldn't be as full without our two fur friends.
I love how my beloved has become like an appendage. We've shared so much that it's almost as if we share the same pulse and breath. Thank you Ove and Sonja, for the reminder to appreciate my husband and find comfort in him.
I can't leave without giving you all a recipe! In the book, there is a coffee shop Ove stops by. Here's a banana bread recipe you have to try, because what coffee shop doesn't have banana bread out to go along with the yummy drinks? This is now my go-to banana bread recipe.
Adapted from this website: http://heidibakes.blogspot.com/2010/05/starbucks-banana-bread.html
Copycat Starbucks Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (I keep my bananas in the freezer)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp. buttermilk or milk
1 cup chopped walnuts (I usually omit because my family wouldn't eat it with nuts)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease one loaf pan
Mix sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, buttermilk, and bananas in a mixing bowl. Combine compleely.
Add in flout, soda, and salt, and 1/2 cup walnuts (or not)
Pour into pan, sprinkle remaining walnuts over the top of the batter pressing in the walnuts.
Bake for 45-60 minutes. Use a tester to check if cooked internally. (mine always takes longer than this!)
Cool and remove from the pan.
Streusel Layer (I always include this part!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix together and sprinkle the mixture over a thin layer of batter in a prepared loaf pan. Cover with additional batter and bake.