Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

From the bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we are capable of doing.

 

This book. I recommend this book so, so, so highly. It was an uplifting and comedic read that kept a smile on my face practically the whole entire time, and if I had a physical copy I would be hugging it. It's out on May 3, and you need to pre-order it now.

 

Britt-Marie (not Britt; only her sister calls her Britt) is the most unique character I've read about in a long while. Imagine the most uptight old lady and you've got her--but she's so good intentioned and when you hear the thought process that goes behind her every action and statement, you'll fall in love with her. The manner in which this was told was also gorgeous--in present tense with an omniscient narrator telling us a lot about Britt and her background.

 

I wasn't sure how entertaining a book about an older lady would be, but this exceeded all my expectations. From the hilarious beginning with Britt-Marie pestering the girl at the unemployment office to a character named Somebody, this had me pulled in. The ending was absolutely brilliant, if leaving me sad. This is nowhere near a romance, but had the slightest thread of a budding relationship throughout that made me squee.

 

This book says a lot about being human and being happy. There are quite a lot of soccer references, but if you're like Britt-Marie and come into this book with no knowledge of soccer, you'll get along just fine. (And if you do follow soccer, you'll probably be even more amused.) A lot of kids are featured in this book and I'm always in love with their naiveté, hear-broken by their lack thereof, and their insights into life.

 

I'm definitely going to read Backman's other books. (Also, I appreciate the metaness of having a character named Fredrik in the book!) Highly recommend to all and everyone.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.