Series: Beartown, #1
Author: Frederik Backman
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Sports
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.
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.
I chose to read Beartown because of the rave reviews I read by Stephanie and Brandie. They both loved it. I had a feeling I would like it, too. I was warned that I might find the pace a little slow and the story hard to get into, but it would be well worth it. Was it for me? Well, read on. 😉
Beartown is extremely character driven. I lost count at how many different perspectives there were. Each was important, but it made the beginning cumbersome. With all those different thoughts and backgrounds, it took a long time to get to the main part of the story. I caught myself wondering if it was going to be a book for me. I wasn’t completely sold on Beartown until I got to around page 150 or so. That’s a long build up — especially for someone who reads fast-paced romances normally.
Once I got into the story, I was hooked. Everything began to move faster at that point. The story and characters came together in the best way. The topic was really heavy, but I didn’t find it as depressing as I could have. The author did a phenomenal job showcasing all the different thoughts and opinions surrounding what went down. I was so impressed by that! I was also very impressed with the ending. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I loved it.
It was hard for me to rate this book. I wasn’t in love with it in the beginning, but it definitely won me over in the end. The thing that strikes me the most about Beartown is that the thing that bugged me the most at the beginning of the book is the thing that I loved the most at the end of it. The cumbersome multiple points of view tied things together in a way that had me wishing this 400+ page book wasn’t coming to an end. That proved to me what an outstanding writer Frederik Backman is. I hope to read the sequel some day soon.