Beartown

Beartown

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"You'll love this engrossing novel." -- People

"Backman is a masterful writer, his characters familiar yet distinct, flawed yet heroic....There are scenes that bring tears, scenes of gut-wrenching despair, and moments of sly humor....A thoroughly empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit." -- Kirkus Reviews

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.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2017.
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501160769
1501160761
Characteristics: 418 pages ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Smith, Neil (Neil Andrew), - Translator
Alternative Title: Bear town

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Caught Reading: Metra Rock Island, January 2018

As I make my daily commute on Metra's Rock Island, a mighty fine line, I've noticed just about everyone is hunkered down in their puffiest puffer coats with something to read.  A good book alleviates the misery of getting downtown in Chicago's frigid winter, but I had to ask quite a few people what they were reading since so many folks are using devices. For the most part, my fellow traveler… (more)


From Library Staff

Fans of Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove and Britt Marie Was Here), prepare for something completely different in his latest novel. While Beartown’s economy slowly declines, what keeps this small Swedish town alive is its hope that the talented junior hockey team will bring home the championship... Read More »

Chicago Public Library recommends this title as one of the best books published in 2017.


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DBRL_AlyssaW Nov 30, 2018

The strongest aspect of this novel by far is the character development. For me, the minor characters were what really drew me in (especially Amat and Benjamin). Backman is good at faking you out - you think the characters will go in one direction, but they never stop growing and surprising you. The short sections within the chapters which jump between the characters make the book move quickly, so it is very bingeable. This story beautifully explores the interplay between culture, community, and individual identity. The complexity and gravity of rape culture and the countless ways it plays out in everyday life is (sadly) realistic - from locker room talk to victim blaming - arguing that “culture is as much about what we encourage as what we permit.” Though the subject matter is heavy and the situations bleak, there are threads of hope and empowerment that make this novel uplifting overall.

m
melissawconklin
Nov 28, 2018

Although the journey was difficult, I am so glad I made an effort to finish this book. The end was unexpected and empowering. I sobbed more than once while listening to this book on my commute because by the end of this novel, I genuinely cared about the characters and the consequences.

w
writermala
Nov 19, 2018

Beartown is a hockeycrazed town where life revolves round the Junior team. Everyone is a player, a GM, a coach, a family member or a fan. Hockey is all-compassing. One season the team goes all the way and reaches the final. Will this be the year they become champions? Alas, the book is a coming of age story where one of the team members, the star no less, may be accused of a crime and miss the game. Every character is well-sketched and the incidents are heart rending. Regardless, of whether you are a hockey player, a parent, a fan or just enjoy a good book this one's for you.

n
nipper
Nov 19, 2018

didn't read.......

IndyPL_KatieB Oct 10, 2018

Although I was late to the party by reading this in 2018, Beartown is on track to make my best of list for this year. Backman's descriptions lead you to be invested in many characters, even when you guess their intentions may not be so pure. I had trouble putting this one down.

a
amccannel
Sep 01, 2018

I loved "A Man Called Ove", and expected something along the same line in this book. But it is very different. I did not like this book.
I found the use of short sections within each chapter created very choppy reading.
The back cover says "A brilliant mix of belly laughs..." Really??? I must have missed the humour. The topic is serious, and there was nothing in the story that brought even close to a laugh from me.

1
1_Great_Book
Aug 29, 2018

No need to be a hockey enthusiast to enjoy this book. Any Canadian can relate to the struggle between the desire to achieve excellence and the spirit of team play in its national sport. Excellent character and plot development set in the context of a decaying very small town.

DCLadults Aug 09, 2018

I put aside my lack of hockey interest and focused on the well drawn characters in Beartown.
As a long time fan of Fredrik Backman....this doesn't disappoint. Beartown is a coming of age story set in a small town in Canada. It explores moral failures, and contemporary issues.
It is an "empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit."

Nicr Jul 01, 2018

Small-town hockey for all the marbles. A big game night that becomes something else. Not very well written: telling in lieu of character development, lots of unfortunate humor with characters laughing annoyingly on the page, and a truly absurd amount of crying. Moves quickly, though, once it finally gets going, and interesting on hockey.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jun 20, 2018

This, is the tale of a small town in Quebec, in the dead middle of nowhere. With the lives of all its citizens snared around one game of hockey, it sets quite the tone for the entire book and its secrets. What actually happened for something to set off such a large spark? Could anyone have foretold what was to happen? All these questions keep readers (focus on young adult) plowing through the novel, until they reach the bittersweet ending at last. I would recommend if you don't mind slow starts to books! @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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Quotes

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m
maplesyrupp
Sep 02, 2018

"Sometimes life doesn't let you choose your battles. Just the company you keep."

m
maplesyrupp
Sep 02, 2018

"Staying silent in return for being allowed to join in."

m
maplesyrupp
Sep 02, 2018

"Sune has always been more interested in the length of the string than the size of the balloon."

m
maplesyrupp
Sep 02, 2018

"That was the morning the boy realized that the only way to become better than the bears at their own game was to stop playing it their way."

m
maplesyrupp
Sep 01, 2018

"Hockey is a sport that rewards repetition. The same exercises, the same movements, until a player's responses become instinctive, branded into his marrow. The puck doesn't just glide, it bounces as well, so acceleration is more important than maximum speed, hand-eye coordination more important than strength. The ice judges you by your ability to change direction and thought quicker than anyone else-that's what separates the best players from the rest."

JanieHH Aug 02, 2017

“She’s fifteen, above the age of consent, and he’s seventeen, but he’s still “the boy” in every conversation. She’s “the young woman”.

Words are not small things.”
― Fredrik Backman, Beartown

letstakeashelfie Jun 22, 2017

"There's a thin line between living and surviving, but there's one positive side effect of being both romantic and very competitive: you never give up." -p.123

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“Community is the fact that we work toward the same goal, that we accept our respective roles in order to reach it. Values is the fact that we trust each other. That we love each other…. For me, culture is as much about what we encourage as what we actually permit.” - p. 210

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“People sometimes say that sorrow is mental but longing is physical. One is a wound, the other an amputated limb, a withered petal compared to a snapped stem. Anything that grows closely enough to what it loves will eventually share the same roots. We can talk about loss, we can treat it and give it time, but biology still forces us to live according to certain rules: plants that are split down the middle don’t heal, they die.” - p. 138

c
cknightkc
Jun 02, 2017

“One of the plainest truths about towns and individuals is that they usually don’t turn into what we tell them to be, but what they are told they are.” - p. 73

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Age

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m
maplesyrupp
Oct 09, 2018

maplesyrupp thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Notices

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JCLEmilyD Sep 09, 2017

Violence: rape

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