Book Talk · Books · Review

Beartown

Book: Beartown

Author: Fredrik Backman

About: 432 pages, published April 25, 2017 by Simon & Schuster

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All adults have days when we feel completely drained. When we no longer know quite what we spend so much time fighting for, when reality and everyday worries overwhelm us and we wonder how much longer we’re going to be able to carry on. The wonderful thing is that we can all live through far more days like that without breaking than we think. The terrible thing is that we never know exactly how many.

Plot: (from Goodreads)

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

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.

You might be playing with bears. But that doesn’t mean you have to forget that you’re a lion.

My Thoughts: 

This book was powerful. So many lives were brought together one fateful night and an entire town would change because of it. It took me awhile to get through this story because there were SO many points where I just had to stop and put the book down. To walk away for a little bit so that I could think straight. DO NOT go into this one thinking it’s an easy read — it’s difficult. It covers topics that so often get pushed under the rug. It is uncomfortable. It is sad. But it is also hopeful. Beautifully, painfully open and honest about these life lessons that are so hard to learn.

Things I liked: The characters, they were written with flaws, built to believable perfection. The writing, I really love Fredrik Backman’s writing style (I’ve read And Every Day the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and LOVED it) and this story was written just as amazingly. The topics covered, I know not everyone will agree with this, but I really loved that Backman approached topics that are “taboo” and difficult for many people to talk about. The story, I couldn’t stop thinking about this book as I was reading it and afterward: the characters draw you in and the complex relationships grow and change as the story goes on, keeping you enthralled.

Things I didn’t like: This is less about the writing or the story and more about my feelings, but I despised what happened. I read this at the same time as the #metoo movement and I think that was absolutely perfect timing. Maybe I’m giving too much away, but it is broke my heart. There were also some points where I struggled to follow all the characters and I was constantly flipping back and forth to figure out who was who (until about ¾ of the way through, then I was just so engrossed I didn’t have to think about it).

I give this book 5 stars because it was truly amazing and inspirational. This book is definitely on my favorites list and I think everyone should read it because of the lessons it provides. Lovers of Fredrik Backman’s other works, lovers of novels about families/relationships (like The Vacationers and The Nest), and anyone ready for a good cry. This book also made me appreciate sports (especially hockey) and it made me nostalgic for high school sports and all the nights I spent watching my classmates compete against our rivals.

Let’s Talk!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Is it on your TBR list now? Do you agree with my opinion? Do you disagree? Why?

I love to hear from you!

If you loved this book you may also love And Everyday the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, the Nest, or The Vacationers.

He ought to refuse to skate straight at Bobo after the beating he’s taken. But at a certain point in a person’s life you either sink or swim, and nothing really matters anymore. What else could they do to him now beyond this?

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3 thoughts on “Beartown

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