Read Björnstad by Fredrik Backman Online


Vad betyder ett lag för en stad? Vad betyder en sport för en familj? Vad betyder en enda match för ett samhälle som kämpar för sin överlevnad?Bara allt. Den betyder bara allt.Björnstad är den första delen i en serie om en liten plats med stora drömmar. Den handlar om 15-åriga flickors odödliga vänskap och 17-åriga pojkar som spelar hockey med en hel stad på sina axlar. MenVad betyder ett lag för en stad? Vad betyder en sport för en familj? Vad betyder en enda match för ett samhälle som kämpar för sin överlevnad?Bara allt. Den betyder bara allt.Björnstad är den första delen i en serie om en liten plats med stora drömmar. Den handlar om 15-åriga flickors odödliga vänskap och 17-åriga pojkar som spelar hockey med en hel stad på sina axlar. Men den handlar också om ett oförlåtligt brott, hur snabbt ett samhälle kan lära sig att blunda, och de fruktansvärda saker vi ibland är redo att göra för framgång.Mitt i allt står Peter, som flyttar hem efter livet som hockeyproffs för att bygga upp sin moderklubb, och Mira, som slits mellan advokatkarriären och ett tyst liv i skogen som fru och mamma. Det är en saga om idrott och familj, och om hur långt vi är redo att gå för att skydda våra barn.Björnstad är Fredrik Backmans allvarligaste roman hittills. En berättelse om kärleken till en folkrörelse, men även om manlighet, identitet och längtan efter att få visa vem man verkligen är....

Title : Björnstad
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789164204967
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 470 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Björnstad Reviews

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    2019-04-21 07:18

    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 Beartown. 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 (SPOILER ALERT-SHE LOVED IT TOO). 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."It's only a game. It only resolves tiny, insignificant things. Such as who gets validation. Who gets listened to. It allocates power and draws boundaries and turns some people into stars and others into spectators. That's all."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 "Hockey is like faith. Religion is something between you and other people; it's full of interpretations and theories and opinions. But faith... that's just between you and God. It's what you feel in your chest when the referee glides out to the center circle between two players, when you hear the sticks strike each other and see the black disk fall between them. Then it's just between you and hockey. Because cherry trees always smell of cherry trees, whereas money smells of nothing.""A great deal is expected of anyone who's been given a lot." 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."If you are honest, people may deceive you. Be honest anyway.If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway.All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow.Do good anyway."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 Beartown. 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, 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. Someone hold me.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. 💔💔💔💔💔

  • Candace
    2019-04-12 05:24

    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

  • Elyse
    2019-04-08 01:31

    "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''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

  • Larry H
    2019-03-28 02:27

    Here's a little bit of a confession: while I really enjoyed Fredrik Backman's book A Man Called Ove, 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 Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, and I fell in love with it (curmudgeon-ish character and all), and it easily found its way onto my list of the best books I read last year.Even with full confidence in Backman's storytelling ability, I was surprised to learn his newest book, Beartown, 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 obsessed 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 Friday Night Lights 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 http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....

  • Matthew
    2019-04-20 02:13

    "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!

  • Ninoska Goris
    2019-04-08 07:23

    English - EspañolNot 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.

  • Susanne Strong
    2019-04-05 00:03

    5 Resounding Stars!Fredrik Backman: You’ve left me drained, almost completely bereft of words. This is a novel, unlike any of your others, yet it’s so full of heart and emotion that we the readers know emphatically that it is yours. And after the last words have sunk into my soul, I can emphatically say, thank you! This one is to be treasured.Now, what can I possibly say about this story, without giving it away?Beartown is a town that eat, 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. But the raw human emotion that is dripping from each and every page of this novel? You will all feel that. Fredrik Backman evokes it from each and every reader and here, he does so in a way that he has never done before. 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.

  • Angela M
    2019-03-24 01:29

    Hockey. What did I care about hockey? I didn't. But the novel soon becomes about more than just the sport, about so much more than I can articulate in a review without giving too much away, but I'll try. Backman tells us early on what I was about to discover for myself."Why does anyone care about hockey?...Because it tells stories. "Beartown is a small Swedish town in a forest that could be a small town anywhere. Maybe the sport in these towns is baseball or soccer or football. But here it is hockey. In spite of the universality of it, there is a sense of place so striking that it's like another character. This is the story of many of the town's residents - the kids, their families and how they are connected by the game, but the connections are more than just the game . There are alternating chapters, sometimes just alternating paragraphs about them, with new characters continually introduced. Somehow the continuity is never lost; someone is always linked to someone else. The narrative moves from character to character, family to family providing such an in depth picture of who they are. It takes an amazingly talented writer to do this with so many characters to keep tract of. The writing sometimes feels subtle but yet I came to intimately know these characters as I did in his other novels.Young hockey players, coaches who are former hockey players, their spouses, mothers and fathers. It seems that just about everyone carries a burden. Some are grieving, some are lonely, some are bullied, some carry secrets, yet a few summon the strength to move forward. My favorite characters are Maya, who in the face of being victimized provides the strength and love that holds her family together and of course Ramona who lifts herself out of her grief to save the town from itself. I can't forget about Amat who wants to fit in, save his mother but faces the challenge of doing what is right and Ana the best friend that anyone could ever hope for. Backman has woven a complex story full of sadness, hope, discovery, people fighting their own demons, about parents and kids. Not all the games are won but there are triumphs of friendship, love, and doing what is right. To Fredrik Backman , I say from the heart tack sa mycket for another beautiful story. I received an advanced copy of this from Atria through NetGalley and Edelweiss.

  • Carol
    2019-04-19 01:02

    5 Big Fat Wonderful Stars!Welcome to the poor side of town. BEARTOWN is way out yonder in the middle of a forest where winter temperatures reach sub-zero and hockey is the name of the game for its struggling residents.You don't have to be a hockey fan, or sports fan for that matter, to read BEARTOWN, you only have to (once again) sit back and enjoy the superb and addictive story telling of Fredrik Backman.So get ready.....there's a whole gang of characters who each have their own personal stories to tell.....some even have big secrets, and some do evil, but most importantly, many of them will demonstrate what it means to have a big heart, show courage in the face of danger, and even give up their dreams if it means survival for their small town.I was surprised how my opinion of certain characters changed as the story developed, and although I have more than one favorite, Ramona is the one that will stick with me for a good while.....what a tough cookie!Excellent Read! Highly Recommend!Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  • Jennifer Masterson
    2019-04-04 05:18

    *This is an audio version review of Beartown.*Holy cow! I never expected to love this book. I'm not a sports person let alone a hockey person. Thanks to my Goodreads friends I took a chance on it. I'm so glad I did! 5 Stars for Beartown! This book grabbed me from the very beginning and never let go. Bang bang bang is still in my head! Beartown is about a declining small town in Sweden that revolves around it's hockey team. There are so many characters in this book, including current hockey players and former players. The fate of this town revolves around hockey. I would love to see this made into a movie. I could see Meryl Streep playing Ramona. I loved her! I'd like to see Tom Hiddleston as David. I could keep casting but you will just get a list of my favorite actors! Lol!Props to the narrator, Marin Ireland! She was awesome! I wouldn't recommend this as a first listen only because there are so many different characters in the story but otherwise I highly recommend the audio! This is my first Fredrik Backman book but it will definitely not be my last! Read or listen to it. It will be on many people's top 10 list of 2017 for sure!

  • James
    2019-04-13 04:05

    4.5 out of 5 stars to Beartown, a 2016 contemporary novel by Fredrik Backman. 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.Why This BookBeartown 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.Overview of StoryBeartown 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's a typical American sports town, 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.Approach & StyleBeartown 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.Strengths1. 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.Open Questions & ConcernsDuring 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 5 for a few reasons: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.Author & Other Similar BooksI 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 James K. Morrow's The Philosopher's Apprentice.Final ThoughtsI'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.About MeFor those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.[polldaddy poll=9729544][polldaddy poll=9719251]

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2019-04-20 08:27

    Late one evening, toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead, and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.At first I wasn't really getting into this book. I don't know why because:1) I love the author2) I love hockey3) I love coming of age stories4) I love the cold 5) I love small towns. I was born in one.It finally got to where I liked it enough to change stars from 3 to 4. Although, I really wish for a better ending. Don't get me wrong, it was a great ending. . . I just wanted....... something else to happen. Uggg, I can't say because you will know. Let me just say I wouldn't haven't walked away and maybe those that have read it will know what I'm talking about. This whole little community of Beartown is nothing but hockey baby. And a lot of these boys are pretty bad @ssed on the ice! I mean they are going somewhere, maybe not where they want to go. There are a lot of characters in the story. Some I hated more than life (one in particular) and others I liked. I can't keep them all straight and I didn't write them all down. Damn.BenjiKevinAmatMayaetc and so on. these kids are all different ages and of course everyone in the town knows each other. A lot of them have been there since the ice age. And there is nothing wrong with that. It's not just about hockey, although most of it is, but it's about them growing up with hockey, how they feel. There are adults that having issues. There is a terrible attack in the town that throws everyone out of kilter. To me that was simple, red hot poker people, red hot poker. To me, I think this would have been a nice place to live if it wasn't one of those places where the sport is more important than a human life so to speak. I can't say more. Otherwise, the close knit community is a great thing. I wish I could have loved it to death like everyone else on the face of the planet but I thought it was good enough. Welcome to Beartown! MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

  • Esil
    2019-04-04 02:10

    I loved Backman's A Man Called Ove. I really really liked My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry. But when I read Backman's last full length novel -- Britt-Marie Was Here -- I wondered whether Backman was a one trick pony, the formula being to create a quirky difficult character and the people who come to love him/her because he/she has a good heart under that gruff exterior.Well it turns out that Backman is no One Trick Pony, and he has a lot to write about besides quirky difficult characters. Beartown is nothing like Backman 's earlier novels. Beartown is a small town in Sweden obsessed with its junior hockey team. The novel focuses on an ensemble of disparate characters associated with the hockey team in different ways. Something nasty happens, and it shows the worst side of small communities and sports. The challenge with reviewing Beartown is that it's hard not to talk about what makes this book so interesting and powerful without giving away any spoilers. Suffice it to say that Beartown asks some big questions about small communities, families and friendship -- questions about the price of belonging and not belonging, the ugliness and beauty of loyalty, the lengths that parents will go to to protect their children from the herd, and many more. These questions are not explored at the expense of the characters or story. Backman's strength remains his ability to create characters, especially those who are outliers. And the end was brilliant. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Annet
    2019-04-13 02:23

    Benji puts his weight down on his foot. The good one this time, not the broken one. "I just want to play." Peter laughs. "Okay but, God, Benji, with your talent and your passion, you could really be something. I mean, seriously. You could be playing at an elite level in a couple of years. Hed Hockey are going to have a fantastic team, financial resources, you'll have much better opportunities to develop there." Benji gives a nonchalant shrug. His answer is as short as it is uncompromising: "But I'm from Beartown."...This is a d*mn,... d*mn good book. Really. Now I see what many readers have already concluded. Wow...I loved the first book I read of this author, A man called Ove. Second book I read, My grandmother told me.... was good, but not as good as I wanted it to be. But this one, Beartown, is out of every league. And it underlines the quality of the author, this story being so different in storyline and style of writing, from his other books. What strikes me is the incredibly human touch of this book on every page. Big tragedy, personal struggles, pain, courage and love combined. Heartfelt. Emotional. Sincere. What can I say, yes, I cried again, yes, it's a five star... Although not the main character in the book, I loved Ramona, the bartender of the Bearskin bar in town... And Benji... And Ana...And Amat...And Maya... Still have to breath... and think about this book;-) Highly recommended for those who have not read this one yet!The story in short: 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. And 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 semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the 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 semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent at that will leave the town in turmoil. Accusations are made, and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected....

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-28 04:21

    It is not just because I think this is an outstanding and insightful book. Nor because I like hockey, actually most sports, come from a sports mad family, because I do. No, my rating reflects the fact that this book engaged all my thoughts, all my emotions, in essence I identified with it in a big way. I come from a small town, like Beartown, which suffers from comparisons to the wealthier, little snobbery town to the North. Our sport is football, a sport four of my five sons played from youth on, over twenty years, and that town is our main rival. If no other team is beaten that season but that one, it is considered a victory.This story embraces way more than the sport though, it also showcases the boys, the coaches, the fans, backers, other students in town and of course the parents. The commitment, the teamwork, the fighting spirit, the bringing together and the tearing apart. The families and what it means to be part of one, responsibilities of teachers and coaches. Friends, the author mentions that the intensity of the friendships formed when you are a teenager are unlike any others and I find this to be so true. Something terrible happens in this little town, in fact the story opens with an ominous act of foreshadowing. Now it becomes a questions of judgment, town judgment, team judgment, of integrity and being brave enough to do the right thing. The characters outstanding, will never forget Benji, Amat and Bobo, Maya and Ana, young teens with so much on their shoulders. Parenting, what kind of parent are you? Would you look the other way, how would you act? Support without question? Condemn without question? Communities, what does being part of one mean? How can you bring together that which is torn apart? So many questions raised. Applying not just to sports but inclusively to all. As I said a fantastic book, a meaningful one, for me an unforgettable one. Can't wait to buy this for my 16 year old granddaughter, have already told my two daughters to read and plan to gift this book to my sons. There is something inside it for everyone to find.ARC from Simon and Schuster.Published May 2nd.

  • Cheri
    2019-04-15 07:25

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!Well I was born in a small townAnd I can breathe in a small townGonna die in this small townAnd that's prob'ly where they'll bury me -- John Cougar MellencampBeartown is a small town in Sweden, the kind of small town where people are born there, live there and die there, generation after generation. Beartown is, among other things, all about hockey. The lives of those who inhabit this small town are lived around the games, the practices, all the working out in-between. What little funds that are raised there seem to be raised to fund their hockey teams. Everyone makes sacrifices for the team, the game. Teachers, mothers and fathers, siblings, businesses all make sacrifices. The ones who pay with their time, as well, are the boys on the teams, their families, their coaches, and their leaders. Hockey rules all. Of all those players that excel on and off the ice, there are a few that stand out, but Kevin Erdahl is really their star player. He has everything on the surface going for him – his grades are good, he’s popular with the guys - and girls. His family is one of the wealthiest in town. Beartown knows it needs players like Kevin to lift this small town out of the slump it’s been in for too long. With a win in the semifinals of the junior tournament, they’d get attention, maybe more money would trickle down as a result, maybe even the long wished for hockey school this town needs. They all know with a big hockey school in town the rest would follow. The shopping malls, new and improved roads, more money means more jobs, too, something they desperately need. But it all depends on hockey, and hockey players like Kevin, like Benji, even Leo. Hockey is the heartbeat of Beartown.Hockey is never satisfied being part of your life, it wants to be all of it.With eyes aimed only the future, really their future, there are changes being planned, another variation of out with the old, in with the new… or younger version. The older coach, Sune, will be gone because he gives long speeches about them playing with their hearts, whereas the junior team coach’s speech consists of one word: Win. And then there’s also the team’s GM, Peter Andersson. A former Beartown player who made it to the big leagues, and returned when that dream ran its course. Peter and his wife Kira, a lawyer, have a daughter, Maya, 15 years old, and a son Leo, 12. Leo, of course, plays, and loves, hockey. Maya plays guitar, but life still revolves around hockey, everywhere in town, in her life. Maya’s best friend who practically lives with them is Ana. And then there's another boy, another hockey player, Amat, who has a somewhat secret crush on Maya. Parties, school, friends, her life, their lives… Life, really, revolves around hockey. They can’t even begin to imagine a life without hockey. Why does he care about hockey? Because his life will be silent without it.There is so much more to this story that seemingly appears solely devoted to hockey. There is devotion, single-minded devotion, like a religion, a way of life. One can find similar devotion in other areas of life, other sports, other avenues like reading, or television or video games, but those don’t lend themselves to participation with others, groups of people. An entire town. Devotion to a cause, to a vision of the future might ultimately be a crack in the armor of a small town. What is a town but a place where people live their lives and dream their dreams? What happens when choices have to be made? What, or who, is sacrificed – and why?Belonging, that need to feel a part of something bigger, to include those chosen few who share our thoughts and hopes and dreams. If not to be “in with the in crowd” then to find our own crowd where we are seen for whom we are.Loyalty is tied into belonging, to being part of a tribe where we feel at home. Loyalty can be a wonderful trait, but it can also lead people to make decisions based on the wrong criteria. Sometimes making a choice between two roads leads you far, far astray. I’ve read all of Fredrik Backman’s books – at least those that I know of. This isn’t really anything like A Man Called Ove, or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, or Britt-Marie Was Here, or And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer - but at the same time it has all the elements of each of those that made them work so well. His ability to deliver that common ground with a character and have you rooting for them, feeling as if you know them, and ultimately to loving them. RecommendedPub Date: 25 April 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Atria Books and to author Fredrik Backman

  • Arah-Lynda
    2019-04-18 07:29

    Beartown is a small, dwindling northern community that is being slowly but surely consumed by the ever encroaching trees.    It is a hockey town and far too many of the residents financial futures are tied, directly or not,  to this sport.  Hockey is the business of Beartown and they are poised on the cusp of great success with their junior team this year.   Winning is everything.But when a tragic event occurs the people of this small community are left reeling and suddenly at odds, unsure where to place their faith anymore.  It is a inner look at how people, families, teams, those alone and in communities respond in the face of adversity.  And it is very well written.If you have lived in the far north and experienced that kind of cold, then you also know how  overwhelmingly appealing the thought of home can be , like a raw, magnetic sort of pull.   So warm and inviting, it comforts and commands your full attention, envelops you and begs you not leave.  Best to stay in, snuggle down.  This story felt that way to me, comfortable and familiar.I was actually navigating just fine so I could have done without all the signposts.  I kept tripping over them.  Sometimes I think it is best to just let the reader do their own heavy lifting once in awhile.   We will manage, I promise you.   Four stars for this engaging and captivating story that stayed true, at least for this northern girl.My thanks to Simon and Schuster, Fredrik Backman and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Paromjit
    2019-04-18 00:26

    The Scandal is the British title for Beartown, a remote northern town in Sweden, a place in a cycle of economic decline and a community with an unabashed primal tribal obsession with its junior ice hockey team. This is a dark and cold town where everyone knows everyone. A hockey team from whom much is expected and demanded, instrumental in defining the identity of a wide array of characters that inhabit this superlative novel, each providing their pivotal piece to the story. Backmann has truly outdone himself in how he exposes and asks the deepest questions of his characters and the community. It begins with a teenager committing a shocking act that sets the scene for how this comes to be, and the consequent reverberations that splinter Beartown apart as people come to sit on one side of the fence or the other. It is about the complications and difficulties of doing the right thing in the face of those willing to overlook justice and condone the unacceptable for the apparent 'greater good' of the team and the town. We come to understand the sacrifices, stresses and strains of being on the hockey team, the rivalries, the different values of the coaches, the aggressions, the friendships, the parties and the star team player for whom the only thing that matters is to win. There are the demanding expectations of the team by the rest of the community and their hopes that it will revive the town from its path to potential oblivion. Involvement in the team offers an escape from the complexities and difficulties of real life for the team and its supporters. There are insights into the families of the players, the business sector and others. We see the problem of unwavering adulation and the inability of players to emotionally handle this and contributing to morally problematic behaviour. We see Maya's pain, resilience and courage, her reasons for sleeping at her friend, Ana's home regularly. The wisdom of Amal's mother in emphasising honesty, kindness and for the need to do good. There are so many notable characters from Benji and the amazing Ramona as we see if Beartown is capable of delivering justice with bated breath.One of the major reasons Backmann's novel is so powerful and successful is that he taps into the universality of passion for sport. The characters with their maelstrom of reactions and feelings reflect their prevalence in any team in any sport and their supporters, connecting every reader to the story. Into this background Backmann throws a metaphorical grenade that rocks an entire community, and this grenade is based on the true realities in a world where some sports team members have engaged in precisely the same kind of despicable behaviours outlined, resulting in communities facing similar issues. This is a multilayered narrative that resonates on virtually every level. Backmann's characters and their development is simply masterful. The author managed to wring a wide range of heartfelt emotions from me, including anger and outrage. This is a story that takes on dark, complex, harrowing issues and deals with them with depth, candour and wisdom. A must read book that I cannot recommend highly enough. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.

  • Julie
    2019-04-10 06:15

    Beartown by Fredrik Backman is a 2017 Simon & Schuster publication. If you are honest, people may deceive you. Be honest anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway. All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.Fredrik Backman won me over with ‘Brit- Marie was Here”. I have since read most of his other books, or at least have them in my ‘to read’ list, which means I feel I have become accustomed to the author’s style of writing by now. However, when this book was released, gossip and loud whispers suggested this one may be a little bit of a departure from what I was used to. However, I trusted the author enough not to let that deter me. Still, even with those advanced warnings, I found myself ill prepared for the deep impact this novel would have on me. Hockey is the life blood for ‘Beartown’, a small community without much else going for it. While, hockey is ‘just a game’, it takes on new connotations in Beartown. The junior team is preparing for the semi-finals, and the entire town is beside itself over it. The story centers around the team, the coaches, and their families who are affected by the town’s fever pitch excitement. We know something went horribly awry from the very beginning. This knowledge creates a sinister and edgy feeling that followed me from start to finish. I understood the mentality of the hockey enthusiast, not because I know the first thing about hockey, because I don’t, but because I’ve seen that type of hysteria first hand in my own hometown, only with football being the sport of choice. That a sport can become like a God to be worshiped, that it is responsible for keeping the town afloat, by becoming a source of influx of revenue, it’s success making or breaking the livelihood of the coaches and their families, and being responsible for the morale of the residents in general, is distressing. But, to see kids living their lives without a spotlight on the arts or education, or presented with other opportunities is sad enough, but also seeing them forced into carrying such a heavy burden on their young shoulders is a disturbing and troubling setup. However, not everyone is defined by the game of hockey in Beartown. Ironically, they seem to end up being the ones impacted by it the most. Despite the much darker tone of the novel and the high pitch emotions involved, it is important to see the loyalty, the integrity, the courage and intelligence of those who stand up for what is right, consequences be damned. It is uplifting to see family stick by each other, to see those priorities in place, to see rock solid friendships, unlikely heroes, and unconditional love at its finest. The cast of characters still embodies the author’s trademark quirkiness at times, but in this novel he doesn’t mask the sadness, anger, or other emotions behind the offbeat charm or dysfunction of the characters, like we’ve seen in the past. To do otherwise would have been an injustice to this story and I feel the author approached this material soberly, handled it with great care and precision, and nailed the situations, as they played out in an all too realistic fashion. The justice we all feel is necessary doesn’t take place in the orthodox way, but in some ways the powerful equalizer that takes its place is enough to satisfy me. I liked the ending, was pleased by the way things worked out, and the powerful way the author allowed the suspense to build to an almost unbearable pitch while soothingly assuring us all will be well. I’m not a person who believes an author must write one dimensional material. It’s sad that some readers insist they do, often complaining that one book is not exactly like the others he or she as written. I love it when an author steps out and broadens their scope. Sometimes it fails spectacularly, but sometimes it catapults them to an entirely new level. With Beartown, Fredrik Backman has done just that.

  • Sam
    2019-03-27 07:03

    Believe the hype.Beartown is one of those rare novels that leaves you swollen with feeling and utter satisfaction, and yet entirely sad and almost disappointed that the story had to end, even though you wouldn't have wanted the author to change or add a single thing. For me, that's the highest level of love I can have for a novel, and I was honestly stunned by my level of engagement with and adoration for this book. 5 stars, no halves or equivocation, a completely fulfilling reading experience that I'd recommend to anyone and everyone.Fredrik Backman executes his portrayal of a small, hockey-obsessed, economically challenged town and its inhabitants perfectly: the characters are well-drawn and specific and believable, the details and histories and culture woven into the dialogue and actions throughout. But the beauty of this novel is that Beartown, Sweden is Beartown, Sweden while also being Anytown, Anywhere. It achieves a fantastic combination of the specific and the universal, the small town and the small story and the one hockey team and the one fateful act that are individual and personal. Yet it transcends this to also encompass larger meditations on sport, tribe, the family we choose and family by blood, parent-child relationships, guilt versus innocence and when and why it's important and to whom, suffering, success and failure, fitting in and fitting out, good and evil versus right and wrong, what it means to come of age, what it means to be left behind in a rapidly changing world, what people are and aren't capable of being or becoming. It's a read that is easy and entertaining in terms of its writing style, but also presents common yet challenging ideas, again amazing and confounding me with its effortless simplicity and profundity at the same time, and for that to happen takes tremendous hard work and craft by Backman. I marveled at how skilled Backman (and his translator) were to keep multiple perspectives and characters popping in and out of the narrative, yet I was never confused and always pulled forward into the plot. And the characters are rich and my need to find out what happened to them was real and urgent and necessary. I won't soon forget Maya's inner strength, the tried and tested love between Kira and Peter, Benji's concealed empathy and understanding, the pain and redemption in the fluctuating friendships between Amat and Zacharias and Amat and Bobo, and even the lesser characters that are still so very real and important and meaningful: Benji's sisters, Ramona the bar owner, Bobo's parents, Amat's mother, Kevin's mother, Sune the A-team coach. Backman answers his own question, sometimes the entire community feels like a philosophical experiment: If a town falls in the forest but no one hears it, does it matter? Yes, because all the people in it matter, their faults, flaws, hopes, dreams, actions good and bad, passions, fears, failures. And even though they are such fully realized characters, it's hard not to recognize yourself and larger strands of the human experience in each of them. This was something that once I started, I did not want to put down. Ultimately, I was completely entranced by Beartown, and Backman's novel is an exemplar of how to cover the whole of the human condition in a single story; how to juggle and wrestle with the myriad emotions and motivations of individuals and collectives, big ideas like love and loyalty and small needs and desires like wanting a better job for one's parent who is increasingly in pain working as a cleaner. This read is astonishing, emotional, entertaining, and just rang so true. And despite me never reading or having an interest in A Man Called Ove, I take notice of books my Goodreads friends seem to universally rate 5 stars, and was intrigued enough to try Beartown. Backman's other books didn't seem like they'd be for me, so a small town obsessed with hockey seemed a bit more up my alley than what I perceived to be his canon of old curmudgeons on quests and doing adorably cranky things. But after having read Beartown, I may need to get outside of my box and pick up Ove: I was impressed and delighted by Backman's talent and storytelling, and I am so happy he has a backlist I can discover in the interim between this and his next book.We burn and bleed and cry, fully aware that the worst the sport can give us, in the very best scenario, is incomprehensibly meager and worthless: just a few isolated moments of transcendence. That's all. But what the hell else is life made of?Beartown will give you 336 pages of transcendence. And at the same time show you exactly what people, what towns, what life is made of. READ THIS BOOK.-received an ARC on edelweiss, thanks to Atria and Simon & Schuster.

  • Meredith
    2019-03-22 02:18

    On the surface, Beartown is a book about hockey, but it’s so much more! Beartown is about friendship, loyalty, family, and, loss. It’s about a town that’s fighting to stay alive. It’s about a girl who is wronged, and the boy who commits the wrong. It’s about a town that becomes divided over what’s right and wrong, good vs. evil, and the blurred lines in between. It’s about those little things that people do, but aren’t always seen. It's about the bravest people who break away from the pack to do what’s right, even though the consequences might destroy the town that they love. To sum it up, this is a book about love.I honestly cannot find the words to convey what an amazing book this is. Beartown is more than a book--it’s an experience.

  • Candi
    2019-03-29 02:24

    "… our entire species survived because we stuck together and cooperated, but on the other hand we developed because the strongest individuals always thrived at the expense of the weak. So we always end up arguing about where the boundaries should be drawn. How selfish are we allowed to be? How much are we obliged to care about each other?"First of all, let me get this out of the way right off the bat since I know I’m in the minority here. I rated Beartown 3.5 stars and am rounding down rather than up. The short explanation is that I have read Backman’s A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here. I gave all of those novels 4 stars. In hindsight, Ove was likely more of a 4.5. I simply didn’t like Beartown as much as those three (emphasis on 'as much' rather than 'didn't like'). I finished reading it more than two weeks ago, and have been letting it simmer ever since, and my initial reaction has not changed. Was it because this one detoured from Backman’s ‘usual’ fare featuring the grumpy old man or woman? No, not at all. In fact, I was glad to hear that we were going to get something diverging from that accustomed theme. I was thrilled in fact! I love Backman’s writing and have said so before. However, I felt… well, icky, reading this book. I know it was meant to be uncomfortable – there were some tough topics raised and I thank Backman for presenting them to us. It’s an important book. One thing Backman does exceedingly well is depicting a small town atmosphere. "The town wakes early, like it does every day; small towns need a head start if they’re going to have any chance in the world." He also does a fantastic job of bringing the stinging chill of these fictional Swedish towns right into your own living room - even if you happen to be reading in the broiling heat of summer as I did. Where he really shines is in the portrayal and development of the underdog or the more isolated characters. There are a small handful of them here and I wish I could have seen even more of them – Sune, Benji, Amat, and Ana, in particular. The cast of characters is fairly extensive in Beartown, and I found that when I was just getting settled into some quality time with one, I was quickly jolted into time spent with another instead. The narrative shifts rather quickly, not just from chapter to chapter but within a single chapter. Just a little quibble there. I have teenagers. Teenagers in sports. We're not obsessed, we enjoy participating and watching as much as we enjoy our other forms of diversion. Thank goodness we have not encountered anything to the extent that those in Beartown have experienced. Actually, the first third or half of the book was what I liked least. The teen culture and angst just didn’t grab me. It actually made me cringe! Likely because I’m in the thick of it right now – fortunately my two make my life easy, but I see it all around, I hear about it from my own. Mine don’t play hockey, but anyone reading this book knows that you can substitute any sport in here for hockey. For that matter, any event or activity that seems to consume a town, a school, or a family in such a way that it becomes … unhealthy at best… can be filled in for ‘hockey’ here. "Hockey is never satisfied being part of your life, it wants to be all of it." As a family, we make an effort everyday to make sure that we put everything in perspective, not just one aspect of our lives. If you don’t, then I fear a crisis and a moral dilemma like that explored in this book. I have chats with my daughter nearly every day about something that she questions or that she finds uncomfortable. Things she sees and hears about. I’m lucky she comes to me. Okay, I’m digressing from the book again – sorry! Anyway, the second half of the book really picked up for me. When things spiral of control, I was relieved to find that there are those that can overcome adversity and make the right choices – adults and teens both. The alternative is pretty grim and disheartening otherwise. "All organizations like to boast that they’re building a culture, but when it comes down to it everyone really only cares about one sort: the culture of winning." Yikes. I did like this book - I just didn’t love it as I somewhat expected and hoped to do. But that’s okay. It’s more of an “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of thing. I still love Backman and his writing and as I’ve said before, I’ll read whatever else he writes. I’d love to read more with a specific focus on one or two of Beartown’s characters in a later book - minus the teen culture perhaps. I need a break from that! Recommended to all fans of Fredrik Backman – chances are, you’ll feel the love."Humanity has many shortcomings, but none is stronger than pride."

  • Linda
    2019-04-11 00:17

    For you that have read all of Fredrik Backman's books, prepare yourself for a different side of this author. His language and subject material get a bit colorful at times. However, found in between piles of hockey pucks and words that rhyme was a small paragraph that touched my heart like only Backman can do:"Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes much easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn't through love, because love is hard. It makes demands. Hate is simple."I'd like to thank Brenda and Norma for inviting me on a journey to "Beartown" with them. Everyone should have an opportunity to get to know these two loving and fun sisters.For the full "Traveling Sister Review," please go to Brenda's and Norma's blog at: http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  • PorshaJo
    2019-04-04 04:15

    Rating 4.5Wow! What happens in Beartown, unfortunately, happens in reality. Probably more times that we know. Just change the sport. I don't know if you can say the people of Beartown are obsessed with hockey. It's more that they live for it, they live and breath it every minute of the day. Beartown is a story that grabs you from the beginning. We follow the local boys hockey team and their quest to win. We follow the coaches and their quest to win. We follow the town folk and their quest for their team to win. But what if something might change that. Protect the team at all cost. I'll not go into anymore detail about this one other than to say just read it. You don't have to know hockey to read it.It's odd that while reading this one, I was remembering the times of my high school. Football was king and the town was crazy. Not like in Beartown, but we were also out in the middle of no where, and people lived for the football team. If you played, you were treated much different from others. The players got a pass on everything. I recall though one teacher did push the football players - she did push that one in 10th grade to read outloud constantly, because he could not read. Yup, he continually got a pass on everything, because the team needed him. And in 10th grade, he had a childs reading comprehension. It's very sad but this does happen.Anyway, I listened to this one via audio and it was fabulous. The narrator did an amazing job and really brought this one to life for me. So why only a 4.5 rating? There are many characters in the book and there is a lot of setup at first. I did not like that within a chapter it moved back and forth and between characters. I got confused a bit who was who. I did have the print version too so I would go back and re-read chapters. I was not a fan of that writing style. And, I'm stingy with 5 stars. I always ask myself, would I read this one again. And for Beartown...No. Don't get me wrong, it's very good. But I know what happens and I just did not feel that it would be a book I would feel the need to revisit. However, I do plan to visit the other books by this author as the man can tell a story. I look forward to reading more from him soon.

  • Kendall
    2019-03-21 01:27

    I sit here and think about what I just read and it was utterly amazing and so profound.Fredrick Backman thank you for writing such a powerful novel. This is truly a heart wrenching novel that leaves you crying at times, laughing at times, and angry at times. This is definitely a novel that will be treasured and I will always remember.The characters are so amazingly sketched and Backman ever so brilliantly leaves your heart and soul wanting more and more! I don't want to go into too much detail because you truly can't describe this story without spoiling anything. READ this book!!! I haven't had a book give me such goosebumps and make me tear up like this in a long time. If you're worried about how much "hockey" this book has... forget about it lol. This story is so MUCH more then a story about hockey. It's inspiring!! Thank you Fredrick Backman. I needed this book in my life :).5 glorious stars!! 😍⭐️⭐️

  • Norma
    2019-04-16 01:02

    Traveling Sisters Review by NORMA, BRENDA and LINDA!!5 stars! Well that was a “barn burner” of a read for Norma and Brenda!!4 stars!! For Linda! (So for the purpose of this review 4.5 stars rounded up to 5)BEARTOWN by FREDRIK BACKMAN is a powerful, memorable, emotional, spirited, and an uplifting but yet gut-wrenching novel with some moments of humour thrown in along the way that kept us all engrossed in this tale of a small town community’s commitment to the well-loved game of hockey. BEARTOWN is a novel that delves deep into the emotional side of the human spirit/human nature which is packed with passages of wise insights and full of wisdom. Brenda started out making notes, changed to underlining passages in the book and finally giving up because there was too many and thought she might as well mark the whole book. FREDRIK BACKMAN explores the emotional, physical, and mental side of the players, and has a remarkable ability to make us see and understand them and how they are seen through the eyes of the community. He had us engaged not only with the players but the community as well. He explores right and wrong, fear and courage, limits and loyalty of friendship, the bond and love a parent has for their children and their worst fear, that left us asking ourselves many questions. Norma and Brenda giggled to ourselves every time Canada was mentioned and wanted to know where in Canada he was actually referring to. It's not like it's that small of a place. Toronto? LOL.Linda who has read and loved all of Backman’s books did find it started out a little slow and had a little bit too much hockey for her but it did pick up in the second half though. Some of his language and subject matter was a little more colorful than she is used to from Backman. This added to our discussions and the fun we had reading and discussing this book full of awesomeness. Highly recommend this absolutely amazing, insightful, & inspiring novel! This is a favourite read of 2017 for Norma & Brenda!All of our Traveling Sister Reads Reviews can be found on our blog:http://www.twogirlslostinacouleereadi...

  • *TANYA*
    2019-04-06 07:01

    4.5 stars!! Believe the hype this book gets! It's fantastic. I would love to see this book made into a movie. Very good story.

  • Erin
    2019-04-13 04:12

    All the feels! Well, I am going to be honest.I was terrified to read this book.A strange thing to say because if a person were to look at my "read" shelf, I have obviously highly enjoyed Fredrik Backman's books. I love his writing and his characters seem to connect with my soul. It was the plot- the fact that that this book would talk about a small town and its obsessive love for hockey. A game that I loved so much growing up but have slowly lost interest in as I have grown older. As I began reading "Beartown," I could feel that this book was hitting pretty close to home. In fact, Backman was talking about my hometown. Something I am sure many people can say!Beartown isn't close to anything. Even on a map the place looks unnatural... Either way the town is losing. It has been for a very long time since it won at anything. More jobs disappear each year, and with them the people, and the forest devours one or two more abandoned houses each season.Now the focus of this book is a hockey town, its players, coaches, and family members. As the sister and sister in law of hockey players, and the daughter of a hockey coach, I can easily say that Backman captures the very essence of the hockey world. To the perfect pitch! Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there. Yes, it's a dark story too. For what it says about false idols and rape culture and communities and what is truly important. A story that is all too common, but that we(society) must continue to examine. I wish I could say that the actions of the different individuals in the story was shocking, but it wasn't. And that might be the most scary part of all. Definitely one of my favorites of 2017!

  • Dem
    2019-04-11 03:30

    BookClub Re-Read - Great Discussion Book. BEAR WITH IT (pardon the pun) but this one does require a little patience at the beginning but BOY ! is it a book worth reading for it is as compelling as it is disturbing and certainly makes you think. I came soclose to putting this to one side after reading the first 50 pages as I wasn't keen on all the Ice Hockey details but I trusted my GoodRead friends reviews and knew this book had to have more to give and am so glad I stuck with it as Its the sort of book that when asked in 5 years time "Did you read BEARTOWN ?I will certainly remember I did.So well written and the build up is necessary and vital to the story as it sets the scene and this could be any team sport in any country where it's played at a level that the Players, management and community get consumed by every game and the winning of every game becomes paramount. Team sports like football or soccer don't play a huge part in my life as its more solitary sports like golf and running where our family interests lie and yet I am fully aware of the pressure and competitiveness of football even on a small local level so was very easy even for me to identify with this book. However the sport element is only one part of the book, there is so much more to this book and without giving the story away I recommend reading this to find out for yourself.Terrific characters, some I wanted to slap and others I wanted to cuddle. Great storyline with lots to discuss in this one and another book that would make a great book club discussion read regardless of whether you like or dislike the story.So glad I struck with this one as its a book that took me by surprise and another one for my favorites list.I listened to this one on audio and I have to admit I wasn't blown away by the narrator, it was adequate but wish I had a hard copy instead.

  • Cathrine ☯️
    2019-04-13 03:05

    4.75★Reading this was like watching an intense high-stakes poker game with the potential for life-changing rewards or consequences and the author certainly upped the ante with his storytelling. Comparatively, his books that came before seem like warmup acts. This is more fully fleshed, grittier and dark. When we humans witness truth is stranger (and more deadly) than fiction stories and ask “How did it escalate or come down to this or that” explanations and answers are few and sometimes far between because we witness the end result taken out of context. This is a full screen vision of how with each step—one decision at a time, an entire village can raise or level a town and yes, even a child.Faustian bargains are up for grabs as citizens in Beartown with an all consuming passion for hockey come to a moral crossroads of victory or defeat and must choose how much they are willing to sacrifice for what they desire. A win at the final championship will mean salvation for the dying town. But when the star player who can make it happen is arrested after ugly accusations from a fellow student, whose side will they be on? Division ensues, loyalties are questioned, integrity severely tested. How far will parents go to protect and defend their children, to nourish or damage their souls? What are the limits of trust and friendship? With a large cast of characters the issues will get complicated as some see through a glass darkly while for others the scales begin falling from their eyes.Fredrik Backman has become one of my favorite go-to authors for his thoughtful, introspective writing. He gets down to the heart of the matter with themes of loss, loneliness, poverty, abuse, personal identity and accountability, forgiveness, friendship, love, and life’s opportunities for redemption and change. Thank you NetGalley, Simon & Schuster, and the author for this eGalley.