by: Fredrik Backman
Published by:Simon & Schuster
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.
On the surface, ‘Beartown’ is about a small town and it’s love of hockey. Their greatest hope is that their junior team will win the junior hockey championship. The championship, the hockey club, and Beartown it’s self is put in peril when a defining event splits the town.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Fredrik Backman. When I heard Backman was writing a new book I couldn’t wait to read it. Than I found out it centers on hockey. A lot of hockey. Something I don’t know much about. Once I got into the story, I quickly realized that the story was not about hockey at all. It’s about people. Lots of deeply complicated people.
Bachman created some of the most fleshed out characters I have seen a long time. Most people do not fall into the entirely good or entirely bad category. These well-defined ‘human’ personalities are hard to truly capture in a novel. Bachman is a master at it. An example of this can be seen in David. He was an excellent coach and friend but was still human and didn’t always know how to react.
Romana was one of my favorite character. I think we have all had a Romana in our lives.
She is tough as nails and terrifying to cross but someone you would always want in you your corner.
One single event and its aftermath not only create a catalyst for ‘Beartown’s’ residents to react but also presents an import allegory to todays social climate. The actions of the town’s residents demonstrate how in our society that the victims of crimes are often scrutinized more than the perpetrator. This is especially true when the perpetrator is someone popular or famous. The story also highlights how quickly society is to ‘slut shame’ women but hold men to different standards.
Although ‘Beartown’ is a very big departure from Fredrick Beckman’s other works, it is as wonderful. ‘Beartown’ delves deeply into society and how we relate to each other. ‘Beartown’ is a definite must read.