Book Review: Beartown

A short recap of my history with Fredrik Backman.  I’ve read two of his books — A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry — and loved them both!  That’s it.  That’s my history.  Told you it was short 🙂

I saw Beartown on a list of the best books of 2017 and was on board right away.  That being said, this book was a bit different for Backman.  There’s no curmudgeon!  Unless you count the town barkeep, but as she’s one of like 30 “main” characters, she doesn’t get a ton of airtime.

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Basically, this book is about a small town that eats, sleeps and breathes hockey and an incident involving the star player, Kevin, and the General Manager’s daughter, Maya.  What happens challenges everyone to question their own loyalties and morals.  It breaks the town but then remakes it.

The entire time I read it, something felt off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I tried to explain it out loud to Joey.  Backman jumps back and forth between characters SO MUCH.  Every paragraph revolves around a different character.  In the beginning, I figured we were just meeting everyone, but it went on like that for the rest of the book.  There’s also SO MANY stories from the characters’ pasts (before the book takes place) included.  Again, in the beginning, this was fine but it continued on throughout the book, to the point where you spend more time hearing about things that happened in the past than you spend with the characters in the present action of the book.  It was wholly strange and it gave me an unending feeling that I didn’t really know the characters at all.

That being said, what you will get, and what I’ve come to love about Fredrik Backman’s novels, is a great deal of heart.  There are certainly many characters who are bad people with bad morals but there are just as many characters who know right from wrong, who show fierce loyalty and unfaltering compassion towards those they love and honestly, that’s enough to keep me reading.

Have you read Beartown (or anything by Fredrik Backman)?

What are you reading right now?