Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ignoring My Fifty Page Rule Actually Paid Off: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I'm a firm believer that life is too short to read books you don't enjoy.  As such, I generally give each book I read about 50 to 100 pages (depending on the length of book) to capture my interest.  If I'm not enjoying a book by this point I have no qualms with setting it aside and turning to something else.  This 50-page rule has served me well in the past, as any book I've not been particularly impressed with by the 50-100 page mark, but kept reading anyway, has almost always turned out to be a less than three star read for me.  You can imagine my surprise when I finished A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman--a book that I wasn't enjoying at page 100--and decided it will likely show up on my list of favourite books for 2015. 

Given that A Man Called Ove is the first selection for a new book club I'm taking part in, I was determined to read it in its entirety even if I wasn't enjoying it by page 100.  And let me tell you, at the 100 page mark I was convinced the book wasn't for me -- I didn't like Ove, not even a teeny tiny little bit, and I wasn't keen on the way his story was being told. I was convinced that my feelings for the book, and the main character, wouldn't change. Turns out they did change, and change for the better.  As I continued to read I slowly found myself starting to care for Ove, and his story finally began to reasonate with me. There is much more to Ove than initially comes across in the first quarter of the novel, and I'm so glad that I didn't give up on the book and fail to learn this. By the novel's end, which left me in tears, I realized that Backman had created a character and story that is going to stay with me for years to come.

Had I followed my 50-100 page rule with A Man Called Ove I would have missed out on a truly wonderful book.  That's not to say that I will continue to ignore my rule, since it rarely fails me, but in this instance I've very glad that I did.

Are there any books out there that you struggled with initially, but found sticking with paid off in the end?  Do you follow the 50-page rule, or do you finish everything you read?

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