Beartown

Beartown

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...

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Title:Beartown
Author:Fredrik Backman
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Beartown Reviews

  • Matthew

    "People round here don't always know the difference between right and wrong. But we know the difference between good and evil."

    Fredrik Backman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. His characters and storytelling are practically perfect. I can easily recommend this book to anyone.

    There are so many different facets to this book. Questions of morality and loyalty, passion over logic, and right vs wrong. No path through the story is easy and no solution obvious. The background story of

    "People round here don't always know the difference between right and wrong. But we know the difference between good and evil."

    Fredrik Backman is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. His characters and storytelling are practically perfect. I can easily recommend this book to anyone.

    There are so many different facets to this book. Questions of morality and loyalty, passion over logic, and right vs wrong. No path through the story is easy and no solution obvious. The background story of every character is perfectly developed and important in the fine tapestry the Backman weaves. You may be surprised to discover that a story about a little hockey town far away can make you think about how you approach life in general.

    One final bit of awesomeness about this book. With some books you may reach the end having found one or two really great quotes. Well, when you read this, be prepared with a highlighter, page flags, etc. as almost every page has a fantastic quote that is worth remembering after the story is done.

    Honestly, truthfully, literally . . . Backman is good, REALLY good!

  • Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters

    "For people who have never lived where darkness and cold are the norm, where else is the exception, it is hard to understand that it is possible to find someone who has frozen to death with their jacket open, or even naked. But when you get really cold your blood-vessels contract and your heart does all it can to stop blood reaching the frozen parts of your body and then coming back to your heart cold.

    Not unlike a hockey team suffering a penalty and playing at a numerical disadvantage:

    "For people who have never lived where darkness and cold are the norm, where else is the exception, it is hard to understand that it is possible to find someone who has frozen to death with their jacket open, or even naked. But when you get really cold your blood-vessels contract and your heart does all it can to stop blood reaching the frozen parts of your body and then coming back to your heart cold.

    Not unlike a hockey team suffering a penalty and playing at a numerical disadvantage:

    prioritize resources, play defensively, defend the heart, lungs and brain. What happens when the defense finally collapses, when you get cold enough, is that your box play falls apart, your goalie does something stupid, your backs stop communicating with each other, and the body parts that were previously shut off from circulation are suddenly switched back on again. And then, when warm blood from your heart flows back to your frozen feet and hands, you experience an intense rush of heat. That's why you suddenly imagine that you're overheating and start to take your clothes off.

    Then the chilled blood goes back to your heart and it's all over. Every couple of years or so, someone in Beartown goes home drunk after a party and takes a shortcut across the ice, or gets lost in the forest, or sits down to rest for a moment, and is found lifeless in a snowdrift the following morning".

    Hockey is more than just a game in the 'Beartown'....it's the focus of the community's small town universe. Everyone is affected.....The game itself requires sacrifice -- long training sessions for the kids - Dedication from coaches, ( old school and new school thoughts of best way to train young kids) , wives, children, and friends of the team are aware they live in HOCKEY TOWN.

    -- The General manager works long hours --- even when he is home.

    Hockey distraction pulls him away from the family.

    The President of the club pulls weight and adds pressure.

    The Board of directors and sponsors try to pull power ranks in hiring and firing.

    Fanatical parents can get nasty, and competitive with other parents.

    Teachers have a hard time demanding respect in their classroom from their students who are star athletes.

    Educators are influenced by wealthy community members.

    Store and bar owners contribute to the town at large.

    Friends and family in the community are aware of the type of town they live in. It's very clear! Hockey is a family member in and of itself!!

    There are personal & team struggles - on and off the ice:

    Parties - alcohol- drugs- sex - rape - lies - cool kids - fat kids- lonely kids - rich and poor kids - kids trying to fit in - love - loss - lies - betrayal - secrets - death - financial strains- forgiveness, marriage and family issues - loneliness- friendships - jealousy - anger - loyalty - admiration- inspiring relationships- and not so inspiring.

    There is the challenge of the economy of the town itself and the expectation- hopes and dreams that a junior hockey team might have to boast the towns economy.

    Factory workers who have lost jobs may get re-hired. Tourism may increase. Beartown would be held in higher regard.

    ......For a player like Benji -- whose father committed suicide when he was little - hockey gave him a context, a structure, rules, and it rewarded him with the best sides of himself: his boundless heart and unshakeable loyalty. It provided a focus for his energy, channeling it into something constructive. All through his childhood he would sleep with his hockey stick beside him.

    ......Having buried a father and son within a year period, being the General Manager of the junior Hockey team gave Peter Andersson the feeling of keeping something alive. His wife Kira, a lawyer, who commuted to work just outside of Beartown, thought less of the over zealous hockey obsessive hockey community. She loved her husband but never really understood why the game made grown men a bag of nerves. Their daughter Maya, 15 years old, enjoyed playing her guitar. We will embrace her pain and feel her anger as her story develops. Her best friend Ana spent the night at her house almost every night. This friendship puzzled me for awhile as to why she never slept at her own house - but made sense as the story continued.

    Leo, 12 years old, the son of the Andersson family shares his dad's passion for Hockey like most of the town. Easy going kid.

    .......Star hockey player Kevin Erdahl, good grades, from a prominent family, had guys scrambling for best friend position- ( which was usually Benji), and girls throwing themselves at him. The only people that weren't 'pudding-at-his-feet' were his parents. Kevin's parents were the wealthy family in town - they financially sponsored the hockey team - high achievers- result oriented- but emotionally distant. Kevin may have had the most natural talent on the team - but he had other handicaps.

    David and Sune - both hockey coaches argued about whether a 17-year-old could be ready to play in the A-team. Sune-- the older coach lived by the traditional team motto for years...since the beginning of the club: ....."Culture, Values, Community". The worn old banner hung in the locker room.

    David, the younger coach knew he could never really properly explain, that the true drive for a star player like Kevin had nothing to do with values - culture or community....but......

    "his absolute desire to win. Not that he hates losing, but that he can't even begin to conceive of trying to accept not winning. He's merciless. You can't teach that."

    David believed "hockey has always been that the world outside the rink mustn't

    encroach upon the world inside it. They need to be separate universes. Outside, real life is complicated and frightening and hard, but inside the rink it is straightforward and comprehensible. If David hadn't kept the world so clearly divided, these guys, with all the shit they've had to deal with out in the real world, would've been broken even as little kids. But the rink was a refuge. Their one happy place".

    Amat, the youngest player - the fastest, who played with heart, stepped up a level, lived with his single mother. He's the guy who would naturally gather up pucks and cones after practice. Not because anyone told him to because it gave him a chance to avoid others. When it came to talking about girls, parties, or boasting about snorts-of-coke or blowjobs, Amat was reluctant to join in the laughter..... yet that overwhelming feeling of being allowed to belong was something he wanted too. The warm feeling to 'belong' was a strong attraction.

    As you can see - many themes get covered. Each of the characters are so well developed- I feel like I know them - as people. I know this town. The strengths - weakness - the sadness - the sport!

    For many years my next door neighbor played for The San Jose Sharks.

    His wife and and 5 kids too. Ice Hockey is a popular sport in San Jose because of the Sharks. Our younger daughter was a huge fan -knowing every team members name - and many team members. - so from the basic beauty of the sport - including the tunnel vision quest for competitive excellence, scores, statistics, and victories....I enjoyed the subject- vehicle - in which Fredrik Backman told this story.

    I felt that Backman brought a remarkable voice to the world of 'training-dedication'. . be it Hockey, dance, music, or martial arts.......competitor or simply an enthusiast. This book is compulsively intimate providing different perspectives - different stories illuminating the benefits of any skill training - the challenges- for all those who are involved.... "Bear Town" in this case!

    THE BEST PART: Deeply EMOTIONALLY FELT!!! 'DEEPLY'!!! You can read a thousand reviews- NONE OF THEM WILL BE SPOILERS- ( enjoy them all), because this novel is an 'experience-on-steroids'.

    MUST BE EXPERIENCED yourself! -- gorgeous insightful prose!!

    Thank You Netgalley, Atria Books, and Fredrik Backman

  • Susanne  Strong

    Update FIVE STAR Feb 2019 Review (re-read):

    Fredrik Backman, you’ve wrecked me!! “

    Update FIVE STAR Feb 2019 Review (re-read):

    Fredrik Backman, you’ve wrecked me!! “Beartown” and “Us Against You” have turn me into a complete sobbing mess.. For that, I thank you.

    I love your characters and the way you intertwine the storylines and make everyone equally important. Benji, Amat, Bobo and Ramona and oh so many others, you have my heart. This re-read was shared with my book-buddy Kaceey. It was such an honor to read this with you Kaceey - I was so scared to read this with you, afraid that you wouldn’t love the characters as much as I do, but I am so grateful that you loved them too!

    Original review:

    Now, what can I possibly say about this story, without giving it away?

    Beartown is a town that eats, sleeps and goes to bed thinking about one thing: Hockey. Hockey is what makes this town tick. Vibrate. Come Alive. Beartown, and its residents wouldn’t be a community without it. Every person, every family pins their hearts on the Junior Boy’s Hockey team and its inhabitants have nothing left. It’s a huge cross for these kids to bear (no pun intended) and sometimes, well, something or someone has to break. Sadly, strength and resilience give way to anger and pain, leaving no stone unturned, yet that little bear inside those who've been dealt the most blows, refuses to give up.

    Whether or not you like Hockey, I can almost assure you that it will grow on you after reading this. And if you know someone who plays? Well, you will understand the drive and the desire better than a lot of us.

    And I am truly honored and extremely grateful to have experienced it.

    A huge thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and the amazing Fredrik Backman for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. It has been a privilege.

    Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 2/16/17.

    **Will be published on Amazon on 4/25/17.

  • Larry H

    Here's a little bit of a confession: while I really enjoyed Fredrik Backman's book

    , and the charming curmudgeon who was its main character, I have found in recent years that there seems to be a glut of charming yet misunderstood curmudgeons doddering their way through modern fiction.

    So despite people's warm feelings about Backman's next two books, I passed, because I have enough to worry about becoming a (hopefully) charming curmudgeon someday soon. However, I did pounce on

    Here's a little bit of a confession: while I really enjoyed Fredrik Backman's book

    , and the charming curmudgeon who was its main character, I have found in recent years that there seems to be a glut of charming yet misunderstood curmudgeons doddering their way through modern fiction.

    So despite people's warm feelings about Backman's next two books, I passed, because I have enough to worry about becoming a (hopefully) charming curmudgeon someday soon. However, I did pounce on his novella

    , and I fell in love with it (curmudgeon-ish character and all), and it easily found its way onto my

    .

    Even with full confidence in Backman's storytelling ability, I was surprised to learn his newest book,

    , didn't follow the same pattern of his other books, but rather focused on a small town which many think is dying out, a town literally

    with hockey. I wondered how this would work. But then as I read this book over the course of one late evening in the throes of insomnia, I was blown away, because this was so much more than a hockey novel. Backman pulled off a colossal feat, a literary mic drop.

    Beartown is a small forest town that seems to be getting subsumed by the trees around it. One of the few highlights of Beartown is an old hockey rink which was for many years home to the only pastime enjoyed by the factory workers who lived there and the townspeople who cheered with and jeered at them.

    "Sometimes the entire community feels like a philosophical experiment: If a town falls in the forest but no one hears it, does it matter at all?"

    But even for a hockey-obsessed town, the excitement is becoming nearly too much to bear. Beartown's junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, and many in town think they're going to win. The team may be good, but their star player, Kevin, is exceptional, and thanks to his best friend and defender (both on the rink and off), Benji, he's even better. The outcome of the game has the potential to change many lives—the players, including a new player brought on to the team unexpectedly; the general manager, once a hometown hero who briefly dallied in the NFL; several of the club's coaches, who have differing ideas about what coaches are supposed to do; even town leaders, who see the bright horizon a win could bring.

    Despite what happens in that game, one night everything changes. An incident, an accusation, cause sides to be taken, lines to be drawn, people to show their true colors, friendships to strengthen and/or wither. Suddenly Beartown isn't sure what it is or should be—should hockey and its players come first? Is that all that matters? Do the haves get, while the have-nots suffer?

    Backman has written an outstanding, emotional, thought-provoking novel about so much more than a town and a game. It's a book about the responsibilities and burdens of parenthood and the ripple effects missteps in parenting can cause; it's a book about belonging, about finally feeling a part of something when you've spent so much time on the outside looking in; it's a book about the staggering power—positive and negative—of friendship; and it's a book about the toll keeping secrets can have on you.

    It's funny, I was thinking I would get a Swedish

    but instead found so much more. Backman once again proves he is a writer to be reckoned with, and I'll let him lead me wherever he wants to go next time. No questions asked.

    NetGalley and Atria Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • James

    4.5 out of 5 stars to

    , a 2016 contemporary novel by

    . Although the book had a bit of a difficult start for me, it developed into an emotionally-charged hot bed, triggering anger and frustration over so many things about the human race... and I'm quite glad I read it and enjoyed it. But wow... I haven't a visceral emotional reaction to words like this in a very long time.

    Beartown began showing up on a few of my Goodreads' friends booklists earlier this

    4.5 out of 5 stars to

    , a 2016 contemporary novel by

    . Although the book had a bit of a difficult start for me, it developed into an emotionally-charged hot bed, triggering anger and frustration over so many things about the human race... and I'm quite glad I read it and enjoyed it. But wow... I haven't a visceral emotional reaction to words like this in a very long time.

    Beartown began showing up on a few of my Goodreads' friends booklists earlier this year, intriguing my interest. I read the overview and saw many comments that "although the premise of all about a junior hockey team, it's so much more." I had a hard time believing that to be true but thought it might be worth a chance if I could get it from NetGalley. And then I was approved to read it in early April. It took me a few weeks to find the right time in my reading schedule, but it all fell into place last week when I finally took the book on. Also of note: it’s translated from Swedish.

    Beartown is a very small town in the middle of a forest far away from everywhere else. It was once bigger and stronger, but the economy has pushed it further and further down a hole -- to the point where all they have left is the possibility of a good junior hockey team in the future. Everyone in the town gets involved to some degree, either playing, supporting or raising the players who range from 13 to 17 years old. It's the place where agents sometimes go to find the next great star of the professional leagues.

    But the lack of resources and funding has led to a bitter passion among the residents, who seem to stop at almost nothing to ensure their kids have an opportunity to win their games. Some of the residents are fair and honest. Some are rude and malicious. It feels like a typical American sports town, (but the story is set in Sweden) breeding team camaraderie fueled in some cases by hatred and anger, but in a few, promoting acceptance and tolerance.

    Each of the key team members (8 to 10) has a personal story. Each of the parents and coaches have a vision. Rivalries and favoritism shine all around. And with each passing game, the school decided what side of the coin they're on... supporting the team and accepting hockey will always comes first, before education, or fighting back to keep a fair balance. But when someone is attacked, sides must be taken within the school, the team, the hockey league and the town.

    It's a story about hope, control, loss, jealousy, anger, and desire. It's about parenting styles. It's about looking the other way for the sake of long-term goals despite what you may be letting someone get away with in the short term. It's about how people treat one another. And in so many cases, it is not the way it should be.

    Beartown is told by an omniscient narrator who can look into any characters head at any moment.

    It's told in the present tense with a few small reflections on the past.

    Point of view changes and hops around within chapters, defined by a few spaces between paragraphs.

    It's mostly short sentence structure and paragraphs. Told the way people speak.

    1. I am not a big sports fan. I played on a soccer and baseball team when I was younger. And I worked for a sports arena for nearly 20 years. But I have never been interested in hockey. And while the story is too focused in the beginning on the pertinent parts of the sport and rules, it generally has a very good approach to building a fever for the team among us readers. When an author can do that, it's a strong book.

    2. The characters are fairly vivid, each representing a difference slice of life and personality. You will like a few. You will hate many of them. It's another good thing when an author can deliver this level of emotion. As an example, Maggan Lyt supports her son no matter what he has done. And she's rude to everyone, lies, believes her own lies and has no sense of morality. She wasn't a huge part of the story, but she is the epitome of what I hate about what sports can do to a kid. She's the worst kind of mother and should have been taught a bigger lesson. (I rarely go off on topics, especially like this... but she is what is wrong with so many things right now about how people behave in this world...)

    3. The setting is described nearly perfectly. You feel the despair. You see the emptiness. You can tell it's a freezing cold pit of fear.

    4. Views are told from everyone's angle. And even though you will have pure hatred for some of the people, part of you has a small understanding of why they do what they do. You won't accept it or like it, but you can see how it happened in Beartown. And you will wonder if that's what's happening in so many other towns across the country.

    During the first 60 to 75 pages, I was a little frustrated at the focus on hockey as a sport the town rallied around. It was slightly boring and difficult to connect. I trudged through, reading 75 pages the first night and the second night. By the third night (last night). I was 35% through and starting to feel that intense sensation where you just don't want to put the book down, and I finished the last 300 pages all in one sitting (in bed). Intense because I was so angry at the people, the actions and their beliefs. It made me feel sorrow for any town who focuses on sports as the center of their life. I've always thought high school sporting teams were full of nonsense. I don't want to alienate any readers of the book or even my reviews... but I really have to ask the question... Do school sports breed teamwork or do they breed arrogance and nasty habits of accepting things just because you're on the same team? I'm sure there are good examples of a team building positive traits in children... but this was not one of them. When they're proud to have injuries... when they support someone who has clearly done something bad because they are on the same team... when they use derogatory language in a locker room because it helps create a bond... that's not teamwork. That's humanity at its worst... that's people thinking they are above others because they have some physical talent for playing a sport. I have little if any tolerance or patience for people like that. Even when I played on teams, sure, I bought into the "rah, rah, let's win" concept. But the second it crosses that line and because a situation where it's just bad behavior or the thoughts of the uninformed and lazy, ridiculous politics of small minds, I wish they'd all go straight to hell in a hand-basket. And that's how this book made me feel - it conjured up those feelings.... and it was really well done. It hit all the hot spots I have about awful sports parents, horrible team members who think they can do anything because they're a "hero."

    I couldn't push this up to a perfect 5 for a few reasons, but it's very close!

    1. Some of the characters felt too similar / duplicate. I had a bit of a hard time distinguishing them from one another, e.g. which parent is that, what happened to that kid before the game? It could have been a little tighter in this area.

    2. I'm a bit unclear on the ending... it was like there were 2 possible versions... and I wanted to know exactly what happened. It also didn't feel like every character had a proper ending... a few open issues left for me.

    I haven't read any other sports-themed books, so I don't have anything to compare it to from that perspective. But as far as the intensity of your anger or hatred for some of the characters... I would liken it to how I felt about

    's

    .

    I've ranted a bit here. It's a powerful book. It showcases many of the fears I have about a good portion of the country. I'm all for team spirit and finding hope in an activity when there seems to be nothing else available; however, if this is a commentary on what it's like for many towns across the world... my fears are justified. And when a book can share and show that... it's a really strong one... and worth the read.

    P.S. No offense intended to anyone who is a big sports fan, sports parents or sports player themselves. The anger I felt in reading this book is for the negativity steaming off all the wrong things about sports and how they make people act. I'm all for a positive, character-building team sport where the intensity is on the field... and the only thing left off the field is friendship, fair and honest support and an ability to know when to draw the line.

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  • Chelsea Humphrey

    I'm sure anyone who has either read this book or heard anything about it by now realizes this is a huge departure for Backman from his usual tale. About a month ago I was recording a podcast with the lovely Anne Bogel and one of the recommendations she gave me was to read

    . While we all know Backman for his uplifting fiction that is both touching and emotional, this was described to me as "a serious, heavy read that lacked his whimsical trademark". There are few things I love more than

    I'm sure anyone who has either read this book or heard anything about it by now realizes this is a huge departure for Backman from his usual tale. About a month ago I was recording a podcast with the lovely Anne Bogel and one of the recommendations she gave me was to read

    . While we all know Backman for his uplifting fiction that is both touching and emotional, this was described to me as "a serious, heavy read that lacked his whimsical trademark". There are few things I love more than reading a book that is wholly different than what an author is known for, so I knew I had to pick this one up quickly and see what all the fuss was about. When Sam from Clues and Reviews suggested a buddy read I knew that time had come (

    ). I'm so glad that I picked this up when I did; I'm currently in major book hangover mode and can't seem to settle in with another story until I work through my feelings on this one. Bare with me as this review will be long winded.

    Hockey has never been my thing. I grew up in the deep south where football is praised more highly than any other sport, but baseball was where my friends and I found ourselves watching games in high school. Most of my guy friends were on the team, and I remember the awe inspiring excitement we felt at every win and the crushing agony of each loss. I attended a small private school that wasn't known for it's ability to crush it's opponents in sports, but during my high school years we had an exceptionally good baseball team (2 of our players ended up playing professionally years later). It was difficult for our school to get behind the idea of team spirit and to fan the flame of hope when we were crushed in each game season after season, but I remember the anticipation that began to grow amongst the student body those years. This experience is what allowed me to fully succumb to the excitement of the hockey scenes in this story. Hockey is a large piece of this book and I'd go as far as suggesting that hockey is it's own character in the novel, but it wasn't from an overly technical point of view. I found that the overall plot and the hockey scenes awoke that same feeling I used to have while watching high school baseball and it brought to life a sport I never dreamed I could become entranced by. I think Backman said it best when he wrote

    This seems to be the central theme surrounding the book. There are a great deal of characters in this novel; the ever-changing and growing cast seems to add multidimensional aspects to the story that cause it to leap off the page and bury deep into your mind. There were certain characters and views that I was naturally more drawn to (i.e. Amat, Benji, and Kira), yet I found each tongue necessary in the overall narrative to give the clearest picture; this also caused myself to question my knee-jerk reactions and judgements I dropped along the way. In an attempt to not spoil anything for future readers, I'll just state that the content is heavy and much darker than a traditional Backman story, but it still holds that magical quality where you seem to be watching the exchanges and thoughts happening from just outside the realm of reason. There is nothing in this tale that hasn't been written before, but the way in which it is told was especially unique and the subject matter is timely and necessary.

    The above is just a fraction of the wisdom handed down from Amat's mother, and I highly recommend picking up a copy just to read the rest, but my purpose for posting above is to clarify how this sums up the moral of the story. Even with all the injustice surrounding the evil act committed in this novel, there are consistently small glimmers of hope. Please do not misunderstand; this is not a happy go lucky book. There are no feel good finishing pages, although there is still that seed of sunlight planted. What I found separated this from being just another depressing story was the shining examples of forgiveness. There are many examples of diversity on all ends of the spectrum included in this story as well, and the author has woven them through in such a way where it doesn't feel forced or awkward; there is nothing screaming "Look at me! Look at how diverse my characters are! Please pat me on the back for simply including them!" No, these characters were infused with a subtle realism that caused me to take a step back after turning the final page and bask in the awe I felt from what Backman created with this book. While I could ramble on for days, I'd rather stop here and highly suggest that you pick up your own copy and experience first hand the sheer brilliance of

    . This book wrecked me; it pulverized my soul and made me realize how easy it would be for this story to come to life. Highly,

    recommended for anyone willing to give this novel a fair shot. I'm not sure this story, nor these characters, will ever fully leave my consciousness, and I simply cannot wait to experience whatever Backman choses to craft next.

    ************************************

    Oh my lord. If you need me, I'll be wallowing in a giant puddle of all my feelings and emotions.

    I was planning on just doing a mini review on this one but I feel a long winded breakdown coming on this weekend. This will likely be one of my top reads of the year.

    💔💔💔💔💔

  • Ninoska Goris

    English - Español

    Not always, although more in the last year, I buy over hyped books. They are not always as good as they seem. But I decided to give a try to Beartown and oh, blew me away.

    I am not someone outside sports and I understand the sacrifices that have to be made to achieve goals. When I was a teenager I practiced swimming. We had a national preselection competition. I got the flu and I kept swimming even with fever, because that was demanded from me. I ended up with bronchopneumonia

    English - Español

    Not always, although more in the last year, I buy over hyped books. They are not always as good as they seem. But I decided to give a try to Beartown and oh, blew me away.

    I am not someone outside sports and I understand the sacrifices that have to be made to achieve goals. When I was a teenager I practiced swimming. We had a national preselection competition. I got the flu and I kept swimming even with fever, because that was demanded from me. I ended up with bronchopneumonia and I had to stop swimming for life. Actions and consequences.

    This book catches you from the start. You don't know how it will end up in the first page prediction. It could literally be anyone. The story is full of teenagers.

    Beartown is a city with subzero temperatures most of the year, in decay, businesses closing and many layoffs. Its people speak little and are well delimited according to their social position. The higher you live, the better your income.

    The people have their hopes set on the junior hockey team. If they win, they expected investments will be made in the town and it will be a better place.

    But even if Beartown only talks about hockey, the book is much more. Do not expect lessons, or complicated language. It's more about people and players. It is about the President of the hockey club that must accept demands from the sponsors to continue sponsoring, about the General Manager who must fire his mentor so that they can appoint another person, on the hockey star and excellent student, but his parents are always absent, about his best friend without whom he can't play but who keeps a great secret, about the owner of the bar that has not left the premises since her husband died eleven years ago, about how a Family survives when one of the children dies, about how the town faces a horrible crime that will affect hockey, and much, much more.

    There are many characters and each one of them is important. No one is named to name it. You know who they are and how they think. This is one of the best features of the book. It's close. In more than one opportunity it will leave you feeling more of an emotion.

    Undoubtedly it is one of the best books I've ever read.

    ✨✨✨

    No siempre, aunque más en el último año, compro los libros que tienen mucha publicidad. No siempre son tan buenos como parecen. Pero a Beartown decidí darle una oportunidad y oh, como me impactó.

    No soy alguien ajena a los deportes y entiendo los sacrificios que hay que hacer para lograr metas. Cuando era adolescente practicaba natación. Teníamos una competencia de preselección nacional. Me dio gripe y seguí nadando inclusive con fiebre porque eso se me exigía. Al final me dio bronconeumonía y tuve que dejar la natación de por vida. Acciones y consecuencias.

    Este libro te atrapa desde el inicio. No sabes cómo terminará en la predicción de la primera página. Literalmente podría ser cualquiera. La historia está llena de adolescentes.

    Beartown es una ciudad con temperaturas bajo cero la mayor parte del año, en decadencia, negocios cerrando y muchos despidos. Su gente habla poco y están bien delimitados según su posición social. Mientras más arriba vivas significará mejores ingresos.

    El pueblo tiene sus esperanzas puestas en el equipo Junior de hockey. Si ellos ganan se espera que se hagan inversiones en el pueblo y pueda prosperar.

    Pero aunque en Beartown solo se habla de hockey, el libro es mucho más. No esperen lecciones, ni lenguaje complicado. Es más sobre las personas y los jugadores. Es sobre el Presidente del club de hockey que debe aceptar exigencias de los patrocinadores para que sigan patrocinando, sobre el General Manager que debe despedir a su mentor para que puedan nombrar en su puesto a otra persona, sobre la estrella del hockey y excelente estudiante, pero que sus padres siempre están ausentes, sobre su mejor amigo sin el que no puede jugar pero que guarda un gran secreto, sobre la dueña del bar que no ha salido del local desde que se murió su esposo hace once años, sobre cómo sobrevive una familia cuando se muere uno de los hijos, sobre cómo enfrenta el pueblo un hecho descabellado que afectará al hockey, y mucho, mucho más.

    Hay muchos personajes y cada uno de ellos es importante. No se nombra a alguien por nombrarlo. Conoces quién es cada quien y cómo piensa. Esta es una de las mejores características del libro. Es cercano. En más de una oportunidad te dejará sintiendo más de una emoción.

    Sin lugar a dudas es uno de los mejores libros que he leído.

  • Candace

    Wow!--Just, wow! Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that takes you by surprise, becoming far more meaningful than you ever anticipated. 'Beartown' is precisely that type of book. Bravo, Mr. Backman!

    When 'Beartown' first started showing up on so many of my friends' feeds, I was mildly curious. Not being a sports fan, by any stretch of the imagination, I filed it away in the back of my mind in the "maybe one day" category. Knowing only that it centered on a junior hockey team in a

    Wow!--Just, wow! Every once in a while you stumble upon a book that takes you by surprise, becoming far more meaningful than you ever anticipated. 'Beartown' is precisely that type of book. Bravo, Mr. Backman!

    When 'Beartown' first started showing up on so many of my friends' feeds, I was mildly curious. Not being a sports fan, by any stretch of the imagination, I filed it away in the back of my mind in the "maybe one day" category. Knowing only that it centered on a junior hockey team in a small town, I had envisioned something akin to 'The Mighty Ducks' played out on paper.

    However, as the 5-star reviews kept rolling in, I grew increasingly interested. I had to see what all the buzz was about. After all, there's no way that 'The Mighty Ducks' would stir up that type of a response.

    So, I downloaded the Audible version and bumped it to the top of my audiobook TBR list. It proved to be the best decision I could have made. This book was phenomenal!

    'Beartown' started a little slow for me. With so many characters, it was hard to keep everyone straight at first. Yet, it crept up on me slowly. Before I knew it, I was completely engrossed in the lives of these characters and the small town dynamics.

    I couldn't pull myself away from it. 'Beartown' is the type of book that tempts you to play sick and call-in to work so that you can keep reading/listening. I became completely engrossed in this story as it unfolded.

    Beartown is like many small towns across the globe. The decline of industry and tourism has wreaked havoc on this small town's economy. Only in Beartown, the hopes and dreams of an entire community are pinned on the success of a junior hockey team.

    These teen boys are treated like celebrities and the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Parents, business sponsors, booster club members and a variety of other individuals all contribute to this high-pressure environment. Morality and justice take a back seat to winning. Nothing is more important than hockey.

    With a robust cast of characters, the viewpoints offered in 'Beartown' are diverse. The relationships are rich and enlightening. Everything weaves together to make a complex web, with hockey at the center. Events are inter-connected and this book explores the ripple-effect of actions.

    More than anything else, 'Beartown' forces readers to evaluate their values and take a look in the mirror. It tackles some very difficult content and serves as a reminder of the hazards of blind idolization. From peer pressure, to homophobia, to rape culture, to personal integrity, this book forces readers to take a candid look at problems that plague all societies.

    This book was an emotional rollercoaster. At times, I felt inspired. Other times I was absolutely outraged. It made me feel joyful and also sad. You name it and I felt it at some point while listening to 'Beartown'. It was the type of book that moves you.

    Without a doubt, I would recommend 'Beartown' to everyone. It is definitely one that has made it's mark on me, like only the best books do. The narration was also extremely well done and really made for a pleasurable listening experience.

    Check out more of my reviews at

  • Miranda Reads

    Beartown, a small town in the middle of the forest, has been

    Businesses are leaving, layoffs are happening and people are fleeing for anywhere but there.

    But, there is one thing that holds everyone together -

    . People may say that it's crazy to pin all your hopes and dreams on a hockey team, but they don't understand.

    Beartown, a small town in the middle of the forest, has been

    Businesses are leaving, layoffs are happening and people are fleeing for anywhere but there.

    But, there is one thing that holds everyone together -

    . People may say that it's crazy to pin all your hopes and dreams on a hockey team, but they don't understand.

    For the first time in thirty years,

    . They're about to compete in the national semi-finals. Sponsors are (finally) taking an interest in funding the club.

    If the Beartown Bears can win -

    - a professional training center, a shopping mall, business flooding back to the once-abandoned town.

    All of their

    rest on a few teenage shoulders:

    Kevin - the best player their town has seen in years.

    Benji - the best coordinator and team player.

    Amat - the fastest player that has ever graced the ice.

    And it seems simple, the team just has to win the finals and all their (and the town's) wildest dreams will come true.

    Maya, the daughter of the General Manager of the Beartown hockey team,

    by one of the team's star players and the whole town is thrown into turmoil.

    She's covered in bruises, and he's the star of the team.

    With

    the town has to decide what to believe, and no matter what they decide

    Whew. This one was

    for me and that was (in part) due to the way Backman set it up.

    The first third-or-so focuses exclusively on setting the scene - what the town stands for, how much the hockey team practiced and practiced, how Maya begrudgingly loves hockey because her GM dad does, and so on.

    It felt like one of

    and I was loving it. There was some hint at a future tragedy, but it wasn't too overt (in my opinion).

    Thus, when

    and the entire book's premise does a 180, I was shocked and disappointed.

    I was actually super into watching these boys pull up the town and succeed in the hockey world and when the book flipped

    That's, in part, because I've read so many books that use it as a cheap plot device that I'm absolutely sick of reading about it. I

    books about rape as much as possible.

    I put it down and couldn't read it for days.

    But, this was a TCE Book Club book...so I picked it up again and slowly got back into the story.

    And Backman really does the rape justice (and I know, that sounds weird).

    he brings it into being in a way that I haven't read before.

    The way the cast of characters react and the way others distance themselves made the story come alive. It was incredible to read.

    It truly was amazing, and I'm so happy I kept with it. I honestly think I will continue the series - the writing was that good.

    That being said, I really did not appreciate the way the book went about introducing the concept, but the rest of it more than makes up for it.

    Not my favorite audio - the reader (Marin Ireland) did not do that great of a job. The characters were often indistinct (an "angry" voice was consistent between Maya, her teenage best friend and her dad) and the reading was so slow. So. Incredibly. Slow.

    In addition, I had issues with the way the CD's were divided. On a CD player, roughly every chapter was a new 'track'...which was an issue considering they were 10-20 minutes long. I would've preferred shorter tracks, which makes pausing and finding your spot significantly easier.

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    | Snapchat @miranda.reads

    Happy Reading!

  • Dianne

    I'm the outlier again, I guess. I DID like this but didn't love it as many readers clearly did. Backman certainly has a gift for developing characters that feel real and for creating atmosphere, but I didn't love the narrative structure he uses here. He has a large cast of rotating characters and each character has a brief mini story arc that often (too often for me) concludes with the equivalent of a Jack Handey "Deep Thought" or a grave pronouncement that is contrived to make you nod knowingly

    I'm the outlier again, I guess. I DID like this but didn't love it as many readers clearly did. Backman certainly has a gift for developing characters that feel real and for creating atmosphere, but I didn't love the narrative structure he uses here. He has a large cast of rotating characters and each character has a brief mini story arc that often (too often for me) concludes with the equivalent of a Jack Handey "Deep Thought" or a grave pronouncement that is contrived to make you nod knowingly at the author's wisdom. Honestly, I don't do well with "folksy" books and this is one of those varmints.

    I did like very much the ice hockey setting and the Swedish forest where Beartown is set. I liked the plot and the characters, I just didn't care for how it was packaged and delivered. A little too close to cheesy for my cold, dead, cynical heart.

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