One of my new favorite authors is Fredrik Backman from Sweden, and the first book I read by him was A Man Called Ove, which I absolutely adored. I actually listened to it as an audiobook, and it was wonderfully narrated, which I think probably made me love it even more. After Ove, I was interested in reading more by Backman and discovered that most people moved on to Beartown next.
And so off to Sweden I went!
Beartown takes place in a small fictional community in Sweden called…wait for it…Beartown. And in this town, they are completely obsessed with hockey. Personally, I don’t know much about hockey or even care to watch it on TV, but saying such things would apparently be blasphemous in a place like Sweden where hockey is life.
This extreme love for hockey in Sweden reminded me a bit of the obsession with football in small towns in the U.S. and how so much of the activity in these towns can be completely centered around a sport. Beartown is also a bit down on its luck and has definitely seen better days, so hockey pretty much means everything to its residents.
So much so, in fact, that when a teenage girl is sexually assaulted by one of the star hockey players, the entire town is pulled apart when it comes to choosing whose side to believe. Beartown sheds light on how people are sometimes willing to give even small-town heroes a pass when it comes to their transgressions. Yet not everyone in Beartown is on board with this behavior.
Beartown will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions – it made me laugh, it made cry, it made me angry, and it made happy. There are A LOT of details about hockey, so if you hate sports you may not particularly enjoy that aspect of the book. But beyond that, there is friendship, love, family, and the desire to make one’s community a better place to live.
Once you’re done with Beartown, check out the sequel called Us Against You, which is equally good. Backman is a wonderful writer, and once you’ve read one of his books, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to read more.
Have you read Beartown or any of Backman’s other books? Let me which were your favorites!
For more information: Beartown by Fredrik Backman