By: Fredrik Backman
Publication Date: 4/25/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
This author has a knack for "Best Books To Tug At Your Heart Strings."
Talented storyteller, Fredrick Backman returns following the novella (2016), And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: (A small book with a BIG message ), with his latest powerful story, BEARTOWN — A Swedish dying hockey town. A town of stories. A town of secrets.
High-expectations. Burdens. Pressures. A town which relies on the sport and its youth to pull them through. Some people have the "bear" in them.
Beartown isn’t close to anything. The town is losing. It has been a very long time since it won at anything. The town slogan, “Beartown Leaves You Wanting More.” The wind, snow, and weather have since wiped out the word “more.”
The ice hockey stands are packed every weekend, even though the team’s achievements have collapsed in line with the town’s economy. A small town with big dreams. A community. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden to carry, for all concerned.
There are also those from the Hollow. Those less fortunate. How do those from different social classes stack up?
“Hockey is both complicated and not complicated at all. It can be hard to understand the rules, challenging to live with the culture, as good as impossible to get all the people who love it not to pull so hard in different directions that it breaks . . . “
This is why everyone hopes that when the team’s fortune improves, the rest of the town will get pulled up along with it. Their motto has been: "Word hard, take the knocks, don’t complain, keep your mouth shut, and show the bastards in the big cities where they are from."
Once upon a time, Beartown Ice Hockey’s A-team was one step above the juniors and second best in the top division in the country. That was more than two decades and three divisions ago, and now Beartown will go up against the best once again. A win means something for the town’s economy. Survival.
“The sport demands only one thing from you. Your all.“
Maya hates hockey but understands her father (Peter)’s love for it. Peter had made it all the way to Canada and the NHL, matching up against the best in the world. He had come home to take over the team. Peter and his wife, Kira (attorney) have their own grief from the past. Does family mean more than sports, a town, a community's survival?
When the star player on the hockey team, whom everyone looks up to is accused of rape, the town is devastated. The guy on the pedestal. Who would dare take him down?
"It’s only a game. It can only change people’s lives. "
A hidden crime. One that could change lives. There are secrets and lies among friends, family, teens, husbands, and wives.
Backman reaches down into the soul and hearts of his characters and the human psyche. He takes his flawed characters to the dark places and brings hope. They become heroes. As with all his books, readers will find themselves bookmarking many passages, with this bold story of friendship and family bonds; ultimately one of redemption. Rich in character and the true meaning of family.
From loyalty, betrayal, and courage.
Backman's writing is lyrical, poignant, and thought-provoking. Highly emotional and insightful; part coming-of-age and a cautionary tale for both parents and teens; the consequences of carrying other’s dreams on our shoulders.
Have read all his books and highly recommend each one.
A Man Called Ove
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Britt-Marie Was Here
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
PRAISE FOR BEARTOWN
“Like Friday Night Lights, this is about more than youth sports; it's part coming-of-age novel, part study of moral failure, and finally a chronicle of groupthink in which an unlikely hero steps forward to save more than one person from self-destruction. A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit, Backman's latest will resonate a long time.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lest readers think hockey is the star here, it’s Backman’s rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town. While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through ultimately offering hope and even redemption.”—Publishers Weekly
“The sentimentally savvy Backman takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town and young people.”
About the Author
Fredrik Backman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, as well as a novella, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. His books are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages.
He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Read More
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.
Backman has really gone and done it again with this heart-wrenching novel that has characters that will resonate with all readers.
"Why does anybody care about hockey? Because it tells stories." I was a little apprehensive when I realised that this book would revolve around hockey; however, some of the characters in this book were apprehensive when they realised that they were living in a town where the world revolved around hockey. There's a character for everyone here.
Only about a quarter of the way through I had realised that I was reading a gorgeous depiction of what it meant to be a parent, especially to be a mother. A striking scene was one mother counting her children at night, remembering to include the one that was in heaven. Little did I realise how much more intense it would get before the end.
The myriad of characters in this book was absolutely delightful and while I am normally horrid at remembering a main character's name, I kept everyone in this book straight because they were all so distinctly important and memorable. Benji was definitely my favourite but in their own ways they all had really sweet or interesting aspects to them.
This tells such an important tale about people's priorities and the way that they will see certain events. It battles a huge topic but depicts it with thoughtful accuracy. It portrayed the reasoning behind these perspectives without ever justifying them. The ultimate ending was interpretive yet satisfying.
I loved this book mainly for its class commentary and for the way it depicted hope, trust in adult figures, and the way that kids are forced to grow up. This is a must-read.
This is Backman's best work yet and is ever so important.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Finished reading Frederik Backman's new book "Beartown". (Comes out in April). He always writes in kind of a story book for children or like your grandpa telling a story. However you are always left mesmerized by his endearing characters. This was a book that focused around a hockey team. Sorry, don't understand hockey, but the moments the characters played were minimal. Yay!! The first chapter of this book eluded to someone being shot in the head. This book was so different from his others. OMG. Kindle told me I would spend over nine hours with the book. As usual, Backman made you really feel for these characters. But, unusual for him was the dark and dirty secrets and actions that surfaced while reading this book. I lived with this book for over nine hours and what the author took me through? I laughed, I cried, I didn't understand the game. But the feeling I have for these characters? What an awesome book!!! And through the whole book wondering who gets shot in the head? It only wanted to make me read this book faster. As I said, I finished this morning, could not put it down! Kudos and bravo to the Backman. And after finishing the book and reliving it through my mind, I realize He definitely is one of my favorite authors!!! The ending brought back the true feelings and memories of Backman's other books. Call me what you want soft hearted, mushy, etc.... but this was, for me, a truly good read.
Thank you Rachel at Simon and Schuster for reaching out to me with a widget, to Atria and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest unbiased review.
This was such a touching, funny story it almost made this cold, cold heart shed a tear.
I can't help but see some similarities between this story and the movie Saint Vincent, with Bill Murray. Also, I have to say that this tale is a bit predictable.
Those things said, I did laugh out loud a few times while listening, and I thought this narrator did a fantastic job.
If you're looking for a sweet tale about a curmudgeonly old coot without a friend in the world, this book is for you!
*Thanks to Audible for the free download.*