A Man Called Ove, Backman's first book translated into English from the Swedish, was very well-received by two book clubs here. So, I was eager to read his second, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. I was disappointed---this second book felt disconnected and the seven-year-old narrator was not convincing to me. And, some editor should have zapped that awkward title!
If you were one of the enthusiastic Ove readers, I can now recommend this third title of Backman's, Britt-Marie Was Here. At first, I thought she was just a female Ove--instead of a man, now a woman who cannot connect with her neighbors and lives a life of total loneliness, until she is pulled reluctantly into a community.
Britt-Marie's husband has had an affair, and for the first time in her 62 years, she has to find a job of her own. Here, the vehicle is a group of small-town kids who love soccer but don't have either a coach or a playing field. Just as Ove did, Britt-Marie discovers that she is useful and important. Her new friends change her life.
It took a few chapters before the book took off for me, but then it reads quickly. The characters are likable, the conflicts believable, and the resolution is triumphant. Although it may seem a little too similar to Ove and not quite as good, I still enjoyed it and felt happy for Britt-Marie at the end.