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.
If you’ve followed my blog for long you know I have loved all of Fredrik Backman’s books, beginning with A Man Called Ove. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry was a little slow with a strange make believe between two of the main characters and I almost gave up on it. Let me tell you, NEVER give up on a Backman book! Always, always by the time you finish it’s wonderful and the story stays with you. No one writes characters quite like him. Beartown is another wonderful story. Hockey is a huge part of the story, I’m not into hockey so at first it was a little slow for me. But, I know a treasure is coming, so I keep reading. I have to say, several days after I finished the book it seems even sweeter. Does that ever happen to you?
A story about moral failure, the dangers of crowd mentality, and coming of age, but mostly about the fragility of human nature . Set in Sweden, the incredible imagery puts you there in this small Swedish town in love with hockey. I loved it!
Here are a few quotes I love from the book …
“When Amat was born, she lay with him on her chest in a narrow bed in a little hospital on the other side of the planet, no one but them in the whole world. A nurse had whispered the prayer in his mother’s ear back then – it is said to have been written on the wall above Mother Teresa’s bed – and the nurse hoped it would give the solitary woman strength and hope. Almost sixteen years later, the scrap of paper is still hanging on her son’s wall, the words mixed up, but she wrote them down as well as she could remember them:
If you are honest people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.
The final lines his mother wrote on the sheet of paper on his wall read as follows: What you create, others can destroy. Create anyway. Because in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and anyone else anyway.
Immediately below that, written in red crayon in the determined handwriting of a primary school student, it says: They say I’m to little to play. Become good player any way!“
Another one: “David is at home, lying on his kitchen floor. He’s thirty-two years old and his red hair is so unruly it looks like it’s trying to escape from his head. He got teased about it when he was little; the other kids pretended to burn themselves on him in class. That was where he learned to fight. He didn’t have any friends, which was why he was able to devote all his time to hockey. He never bothered to acquire any other interests, which is how he’s managed to become the best.
I love the description of David’s hair!
Robbie Holt – “While he was growing up everyone kept telling him he was going to turn professional, and he believed them so intensely that when he didn’t make it, he took it to mean that everyone else had let him down, as if somehow it wasn’t his own fault. He wakes up in the mornings with the feeling that someone has stolen a better life from him, an unbearable phantom pain between what he should have been and what he actually became. Bitterness can be corrosive; it can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean, until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.“
And mother Kira and daughter Maya… Teenage years offer a brief period of equality after childhood, before the balance shifts and Kira become old enough to worry about her parents more than they do about her. soon Maya won’t be Kira’s little girl anymore, and then Kira will be come Maya’s little old mom. It doesn’t take a lot to be able to let go of your child. It takes everything.
Read a little about Fredrik Backman HERE.
Excellent read! Thanks to Atria and Netgalley for letting me read an advance copy of this wonderful book! Its publication date is April 25th. You can purchase a copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound