• Rachel Penate

Beartown by Frederik Backman


SUMMARY: "People say Beartown is finished. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys who are about to compete in the national hockey semi-finals.

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."(Adapted from Goodreads)

REVIEW: There are some books that are easy to review the words just dripping off your fingers like honey. But then there are some unicorns that stump you, offering no assistance other than a sort of sly smile in acknowledgment of just how brilliant they are.


From Backman's rich illustrations of life in a small town, to his deep and profound themes on parenthood, to his incredible ability to weave the concepts and experiences of hockey into the entire story as anecdote and allegory, THIS. BOOK. WINS. ALL. THE. AWARDS!

And if you didn't think that glowing recommendation was enough, hear me when I say his narrative commentary on the commonly polarizing community response to sexual assault is one of the best I've seen in fiction possibly ever. Backman is a brilliant author and his stories never fail to move me very deeply.

If you're the type of reader that struggles through a slower plot line, but loves a deeply explored cast of characters and setting, I'd absolutely take a chance on this one. But if you're the type of person who can't stand a slow plot regardless of the depth of characters, be warned that this one feels at times like trudging through a very thick (yet, sweet) molasses.

All of my bravado to Backman for this incredible story! I'm so grateful that he continued on the series with Us Against You; definitely on my list for next month!

SENSITIVITY WARNINGS: rape, depression, explicit language, crude locker room banter, drug & alcohol use.

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