Beartown by Fredrik Backman
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, comes a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.
Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.
At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager s daughter and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.
Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people's dreams on our shoulders."
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About the Book
  • Published:
    Apr-2017 (Hardcover)
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    Print / eBook / Audio
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This book is as different from The Man Called Ove as any book could possibly be, but, it is just as unforgettable. Fredrik Backman is a wonderful author. This book appears to be about ice hockey, but it is more about small town prejudices, secrets, violence and support for neighbours in tough times. It is about how a shocking event affects people and families and the ripple effects from that event.. Beartown is a small northern community in Sweden. They have gone from a thriving town with three or four schools to a town with two schools and lots of empty storefronts on the main street. Some industry has shut down and there has been no new industry started. But they live and breathe hockey, and they have a hockey organization funded by local sponsors that boasts a hot junior team. We meet all the players and their parents and other family members as we read this book. Backman does a great job of characterization and these characters are so well-drawn. The whole town is electrified and lthey are ooking forward to great things from their Junior team. Their team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a chance to win! Bearttown is putthing their hopes and dreams on a team of teenage boys. The pressure is intense on these young men, and it is the touchstone for an act of violence that rocks the whole town. No one in Beartown is immune to the fallout of this horrific act. Backman illustrates so well how each person in Beartown is affected by it from the two individuals that were involved right down to the rest of the team, siblings, family, friends, and the rest of the entire community. The shockwaves are tremendous and the town is forever changed. I loved the book and recommend it highly. It is certainly not a feel-good novel, but it is a very clear illustration of what life in a small town is like in this modern world and what individuals must do to survive in a hostile environment.
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