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text 2017-11-29 13:01
"Beartown" by Frederik Backman - beautifully written but too painful for me to finish
Beartown: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

I read the first half of "Beartown" in about three days back in May, some seven months ago now. I was delighted. Here's what I said about it after the first day:

    Beartown” is the latest book from Fredrik Backman ( “A Man Called Ove” and “My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry”).

    It’s about a remote, slowly dying, small town in the middle of the woods where the success of the Junior Hockey Team is the last hope for the town to grow rather than continue its slow decline

    I’ve barely started the book and it's already holding my imagination hostage. The language is simple and undramatic yet it gets to the heart of the things that shapes lives.

    Here’s how it starts:

    “Late one evening, towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there”.

As I read more, I was carried along by the rhythm of the sparse language, which beat into me, like the smack of a puck against a fence, how much a hockey team and a hockey game can mean to a small, failing town in need of hope and pride. It drew me into the lives of people I could see as clearly as if I'd lived with them for years and let me see the world through their eyes

And with each page, as we journeyed towards that shotgun in the woods, my sense of dread grew.

Then I reached the rape.

I saw the damage it did. I imagined the damage it would do. I understood how the ordinary, everyday nature of the act intensified its evil at the same time that it made it credible. This is how life is. I know that. But I couldn't bring myself to read more of it.

I set it aside for a while. I didn't want to abandon something so well written and so true. I was sure I'd pick it up again and savour it.

Today, I tried, not for the first time, to go back to it.

I can't, or, more honestly, I won't.

It's painful to see the world that clearly and then focus on how we do each other harm and how the harm is amplified by poverty, desperation, and a culture where the right of the powerful to do wrong is accepted with sad resignation rather than challenged with righteous anger.

I'll move on to Backman's next book and leave this one closed.

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review 2017-09-14 00:00
Beartown - Fredrik Backman Beartown - Fredrik Backman BookClub Re-Read - Great Discussion Book.

BEAR WITH IT (pardon the pun) but this one does require a little patience at the beginning but BOY ! is it a book worth reading for it is as compelling as it is disturbing and certainly makes you think.

I came so close to putting this to one side after reading the first 50 pages as I wasn't keen on all the Ice Hockey details but I trusted my GoodRead friends reviews and knew this book had to have more to give and am so glad I stuck with it as Its the sort of book that when asked in 5 years time "Did you read BEARTOWN ? I will certainly remember I did.

So well written and the build up is necessary and vital to the story as it sets the scene and this could be any team sport in any country where it's played at a level that the Players, management and community get consumed by every game and the winning of every game becomes paramount. Team sports like football or soccer don't play a huge part in my life as its more solitary sports like golf and running where our family interests lie and yet I am fully aware of the pressure and competitiveness of football even on a small local level so was very easy even for me to identify with this book. However the sport element is only one part of the book, there is so much more to this book and without giving the story away I recommend reading this to find out for yourself.

Terrific characters, some I wanted to slap and others I wanted to cuddle. Great storyline with lots to discuss in this one and another book that would make a great book club discussion read regardless of whether you like or dislike the story.

So glad I struck with this one as its a book that took me by surprise and another one for my favorites list.

I listened to this one on audio and I have to admit I wasn't blown away by the narrator, it was adequate but wish I had a hard copy instead.
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review 2017-08-31 20:04
Beartown by Frederik Backman
Beartown: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book is about so much more than hockey.  What starts off as a story about a small village and their hockey team takes an unexpected turn in both character dissension and storyline.  Backman exposes the small town mentality of its residents and walks a fine line with his characterization of "crazy hockey parents" that are almost too stereotypical, but because his story is compelling, he gets away with it.

Beartown is universal in topic and appeal—sexism, homophobia, racism, and politics are issues prevalent in every town, anywhere.  In Beartown, as the underdogs that represent a community built on hockey, residents are willing to do whatever it takes to make their mark, including covering up a terrible crime against a young girl.  The mentality is staggering and mind blowing.  It is all too familiar where it is the victim that is the one bullied, threatened, and emotionally abused.  How society puts sports figures on a pedestal, they are untouchable, and not held responsible for their actions because they are hailed as some kind of hero.

Backman explores hope, perseverance, and the love of sport and juxtaposes it against the crippling burden of being the best and doing whatever it takes, no matter how high the price and at what cost.

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review 2017-08-05 02:03
Not Feeling good After This One
Beartown: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

Wow. I don't feel good after finishing this. I feel depressed, blue. The writing was excellent the emotional depth completely overwhelming. I don't read books with rape. I don't like to see it used as entertainment. There was nothing here but brutal honesty about all the views. Each person had a different reaction, different reasoning, it was painful to read at times. I finished this book and didn't feel good. I'm glad I read it now, but if I had known what it was about before I picked it up I wouldn't have read it. I read for release, escape, the dream, not a nasty dose of reality like this book went into. I am rating this on my feelings on the book not the writing.
Humans can be so cruel. Humans can be such selfish jerks. Humans can reason anything no matter how horrible if it make sit easier on them. Humans justifying rape is WRONG. The mentality of this town is so wrong. Humans will fight dirty to stay in the crowd. Humans can also be kind, unwavering and wonderful but these standouts can be rare in tough times.
This book, arguh, emotional roller coaster. I've known all these people at one time in my life. The realistic feel of them makes the punch in the gut more painful. It's all begins to decline with the rape of a 15 year old girl. You know the story, you've herd in on the news on TV shows, the blame game. Mr. Backman takes us to a deeper level and to the outer levels of this traumatic event. How Hockey rules over empathy, over friends, over family in this town and how it goes down, down.

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text 2017-08-04 02:04
Reading progress update: I've read 67%.
Beartown: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

"At 15 she already knew the world was a cruel place for a girl"


Oh sure it's all her fault, she asked for it BS BS BS !!!!

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