In a town, in a room, on a computer….. Finally, two years later, I got my closure. When I put Beartown down the first time in 2017, my heart just couldn’t take it anymore. Now, years later I finally had the courage to finish it.
Beartown (Björnstad #1) by Fredrik Backman
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.
Beartown – Fredrik Backman
This book was hard for me.
The author has a way with words, and the way he portrait the good but also the bad in human nature – broke my heart. I never want to read books that picture how horrible we humans can be towards each other. Seeing it in the news is all I can bare – I don’t usually want to read about it as well. But I wanted to read Us Against You and I felt like I had to finish Beartown first.
I’ve loved this author’s writing for years now, especially after OVE and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry I was hooked, but nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of feelings this book brought forth.
This story is one that will make you believe in mankind and also hate it. It will make you think, feel and tear up. It truly put me through the wringer. There was a reason why I didn’t finish the book the first time around. But the beautiful writing, the underlying message and the ever present glimpse of hope was worth it in the end.
I’m keeping my rating from 2017, even though the book was beautifully written, the topic was just too raw for me. I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I hoped, even if I couldn’t put it down the second time around. The story was just too dark and heart-breaking for me.
But there is a reason why readers love this book. And I would certainly recommend it to anyone who loves to read beautiful and meaningful fiction, and who has a thicker skin than I do. Because, please be aware that for a big part this book is about today’s rape culture and its repercussion.
Beartown – Fredrik Backman