Ove is a fantastically detail-oriented person and it drives him crazy that no one does things the right way. Signs are meant to be read. Rules are meant to be followed. Also, schedules are very important.
It took me twice to make it through this book - the first time I picked it up at the recommendation of a Swedish friend, when it was first released in English, but I put it aside after about 40 pages because Ove is just such a bitter crab ass. Since then I've had about 27 library patrons tell me how good this book is and now we're discussing it at the library, so I had no excuse not to sit down and read it.
Now I finally understand the book's popularity!
Ove's a complex man, but it's hard to see past his persnickety nature. As the story goes on, the reader starts to see the man behind the scowl and to better understand his situation. You start to feel sorry for him and to care about his well-being. Just like his new neighbor, Parvaneh.
This book currently is being made into a movie - I've watched the trailer, and I'm curious about the project. So often good books are ruined in the film translation, and this book has such a delicate balance. We'll see how it goes. One good sign - it's being done in Sweden, not in Hollywood!