Beartown

Beartown

A Novel

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: Toronto : Simon & Schuster, 2017
Edition: Simon & Schuster Canada edition
ISBN: 9781501163104
Branch Call Number: FIC BACKM F

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t
talk2terih
Apr 29, 2018

"She can't explain why she cares for sports, because she's learned that if you have to ask the question, you simply wouldn't understand the answer."

If this quote from Beartown leaves you nodding your head and saying "I know," then you will truly appreciate this book on all levels. When you give yourself and your devotion to a sport and to a team, it can be a demanding mistress, often taking more than you thought you could give. When everything is riding on a game or a season, it can engulf you, as it does the people of Beartown, to the point where right and wrong become blurred. And once the town slides over that line, it takes everything in it to right the ship.

The incident that rocks the town takes away much of what the town prizes and while the ending gives reason for hope, it also leaves as many questions as answers.

Beyond the issue of sports, Beartown portrays what small town life can often be like in a way that is both lovingly respectful and critical. Bachman never shies away from showing us the ugly underbelly of the town and its people, but he also shows us what can be beautiful about being a part of a tightly-knit community.

While some readers may think it a bit sentimental, I doubt anyone can disagree about how evocative the writing is. Bachman creates a solid sense of place here. The reader knows he would recognize Beartown if he ever happened upon it.

I rarely re-read books, but this one I know I will.

g
gogo12127
Apr 28, 2018

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 workingmen who founded this town, and that ice rink is the reason people believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, 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. A victory would send star player Kevin on to a brilliant future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. It would justify the choice that Peter, the team's general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil.
Hers is a story no one wants to believe, since doing so would mean the end of the dream.
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 community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. (Description slightly edited from the hardcover book flap.)

Is it heresy to say that Beartown is just as good as A Man Called Ove? Well, then call me a heretic, because Beartown is that good. Actually, Beartown and A Man Called Ove are two entirely different kinds of stories. The one constant is the author. Fredrick Backman is a heck of a writer.

Mr. Backman has a sequel to Beartown coming out in June, Us Against You. I’ll be looking for it.

e
Eidnew
Apr 25, 2018

I thought this book was a great read. I wasn't too sure I was going to make it through when I saw it was about hockey, but hockey was only the thread of the story. There were so many current topics covered and I shed a few tears reading the last pages.

kkoenigc Apr 04, 2018

This book left an impression unlike some where I just put it down and go to the next.
It's story touches on many subjects that are currently discussed today: racial biases, class division, sexual classifications, bullying and many more. It will stay with me for a long time.

c
cmfrakes
Mar 13, 2018

It was ok. Very slow at the beginning. Didn't feel like there was much character development - very flat characters. For me personally, too much hockey! I have read Ove and My Grandmother and thought they were excellent. This one, sadly, was very disappointing.

m
Margush
Mar 11, 2018

Love Backman’s other books but for some reason this one was hard to follow...I don’t really like hockey, it may explain it.

s
shaylae
Feb 15, 2018

This is a book I will never forget. His writing is beautiful, though the story is heartbreaking. Well worth the read!

d
dprodrig
Feb 08, 2018

Backman's style takes a bit of getting used to. This is a portrayal of political manoeuvring to take a currently winning team and bring a hockey training facility to a dying town. But the star player raped a young girl and the book details the fallout of when this happens. Including how the town turns against the family, the mother's complicity, how the boy escapes all charges and even takes a small step to peak into the future. Not entirely grim, but definitely gripping. Worth reading.

b
Blabbermouth
Jan 11, 2018

Wow what a book. I found it hard to get into but once there it was gripping. This story is multi-layered. It's about a small town that's dying, it's about a sport, it's about parenting it's about teenage angst & it's about good & evil. Mostly it's about a culture that involves men & women & I have to admit to being a woman but regardless of that fact it seems very clear to me that men need to make a lot of changes. It's also a story about rape & lying that's called loyalty & the violence that follows this culture if you tell the truth. It's deep.

t
TSMasi
Jan 03, 2018

This is the best book I read in 2017. ALL YEAR. It almost had a feel of John Green meets Harper Lee. It took me awhile to figure out that it as not set in the northernmost United States, the monetary unit is the kroner, a smarter person would have caught on right away! But the story is gripping, Just when you think this is a story abut small town hockey, think again. Great plot,unexpected twists. LOVED IT.

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Quotes

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JanieHH Aug 02, 2017

“She’s fifteen, above the age of consent, and he’s seventeen, but he’s still “the boy” in every conversation. She’s “the young woman”.

Words are not small things.”
― Fredrik Backman, Beartown

l
letstakeashelfie
Jun 22, 2017

"There's a thin line between living and surviving, but there's one positive side effect of being both romantic and very competitive: you never give up." -p.123

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“Community is the fact that we work toward the same goal, that we accept our respective roles in order to reach it. Values is the fact that we trust each other. That we love each other…. For me, culture is as much about what we encourage as what we actually permit.” - p. 210

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“People sometimes say that sorrow is mental but longing is physical. One is a wound, the other an amputated limb, a withered petal compared to a snapped stem. Anything that grows closely enough to what it loves will eventually share the same roots. We can talk about loss, we can treat it and give it time, but biology still forces us to live according to certain rules: plants that are split down the middle don’t heal, they die.” - p. 138

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“One of the plainest truths about towns and individuals is that they usually don’t turn into what we tell them to be, but what they are told they are.” - p. 73

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“Culture is as much about what we encourage as what we permit” - p. 66

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“Sports creates complicated men, proud enough to refuse to admit their mistakes, but humble enough always to put their team first.” - p. 58

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“It’s only a game. It only resolves tiny, insignificant things. Such as who gets validation. Who gets listened to. It allocates power and draws boundaries and turns some people into stars and others into spectators. Thats all.” - p. 53

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JCLEmilyD Sep 09, 2017

Violence: rape

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