Thursday, June 15, 2017

Beartown by Fredrik Backman


People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.


My Thoughts:

     Much like The Dry by Jane Harper, Beartown is full of interesting characters but the town as a whole and the surrounding environment are also a big part of the story.  Hockey is the life’s blood of Beartown and everyone in it.  If you want to be liked and if you eventually want to get out of this cold, wilderness town you will have to be good at hockey.  Those that are gifted at the game are treated like royalty and the inhabitants rely on them to win at any cost to help pull the town out of its increasing economic downfalls.
     This is the first of Backman’s writing that I have read but I have always heard great things-now I know why.  Many people have said that this is quite different than his other works in that it is darker and the subject matter is something that may bother some people.
 Fredrik Backman’s writing style and the design of this book should be confusing because every chapter jumps around between several townsfolks’ viewpoints.  At first when you are learning who everyone is, it is a bit confusing but I quickly picked it up and was able to continuing reading with little to know trouble.  Almost all of the characters are rich, complicated and well developed and all of them are relatable in some form. 
     This is a wonderfully written novel about tough subjects and while it was emotionally tough at times I think it is a very timely subject that was handled perfectly by the author. I will be recommending this one to everyone.  5/5 stars

Favorite quotes:

God, how much he annoys her sometimes, but God, how she loves him. It wasn’t a love that developed gradually; it hit her like an affliction. It’s an ongoing condition.

“Never trust people who don’t have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.” 

Author’s site:

Warning and slight spoiler below....

*this story involves a rape so if that is something that bothers you, it might be best to pass on this novel.

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