Beartown: A Novel - Fredrik Backman

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.


Backman has really gone and done it again with this heart-wrenching novel that has characters that will resonate with all readers.


"Why does anybody care about hockey? Because it tells stories." I was a little apprehensive when I realised that this book would revolve around hockey; however, some of the characters in this book were apprehensive when they realised that they were living in a town where the world revolved around hockey. There's a character for everyone here.


Only about a quarter of the way through I had realised that I was reading a gorgeous depiction of what it meant to be a parent, especially to be a mother. A striking scene was one mother counting her children at night, remembering to include the one that was in heaven. Little did I realise how much more intense it would get before the end.


The myriad of characters in this book was absolutely delightful and while I am normally horrid at remembering a main character's name, I kept everyone in this book straight because they were all so distinctly important and memorable. Benji was definitely my favourite but in their own ways they all had really sweet or interesting aspects to them.


This tells such an important tale about people's priorities and the way that they will see certain events. It battles a huge topic but depicts it with thoughtful accuracy. It portrayed the reasoning behind these perspectives without ever justifying them. The ultimate ending was interpretive yet satisfying.


I loved this book mainly for its class commentary and for the way it depicted hope, trust in adult figures, and the way that kids are forced to grow up. This is a must-read.


This is Backman's best work yet and is ever so important.


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