Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Sometimes you find an author you just can’t get enough of. You read everything they offer and find each new book is better than the ones before. You wait, tapping your fingers on the counter waiting for the next book. And then they try something new and different and it’s a little scary to open to the first page and begin reading because you don’t know if you’ll like the new and oh, my gosh, what if you don’t like it?!
Fredrik Backman wrote the much beloved A Man Called Ove. That’s how I met him as an author. Who didn’t love that book? Then he gave us My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and again, I thought, “wow, he really gets old people!” I hope you liked that one as much as I did. But then, oh my, he gave us Britt-Marie Was Here and I didn’t think it could get any better. Until now. Until Beartown.
Beartown is Backman’s departure from old people. Beartown is thick, meaty, deep, multi-layered, intense, timely, mysterious. Beartown is us.
Beartown is hockey and hockey is Beartown. The small town lives and breathes hockey and prays and dreams for a winning team, a winning season, and ultimately, winning it all, the national championship. The dreams of Beartown are dependent on the teenage boys who make up the junior ice hockey team. Finally, after spending their whole lives on the ice, this group of boys has coalesced into the team that can do it all. The hopes of the parents, siblings, the business sponsors, the club, the coaches, managers and the boys themselves lie on this one team’s shoulders. They have the talent. They can do it. The bonds between them are unbreakable. This time, with this team, they will be second best no more.
Everyone in this town is represented, everyone in this town has a stake in the outcome and everyone in this town is invested in this sport and this particular team. And then something happens that topples the pedestal and everything that was at stake is even more so.
First thing you are going to ask yourself is, “Why would I read about hockey?” You aren’t reading about hockey, you are reading about the people OF hockey. And besides, it’s the best story you’ll read in a very long time. You know I don’t like to give away too much, I want people to know just enough and then go find out for themselves. Beartown is nothing like Fredrik Backman’s other books but oh, please, don’t let that stop you from reading this. This one isn’t about old people, this one is about all of us. This story is deep, taut, though provoking, and real. Oh, so very real. Fredrik Backman is only getting better.