Book Review: Beartown, Fredrik Backman

Author Fredrik Backman

Author Fredrik Backman

FIRST PARAGRAPH: “It is Friday, in early March in Beartown, and nothing has happened yet. Everyone is waiting. Tomorrow, the Beartown Ice Hockey Club’s junior team is playing in the semifinal of the biggest youth tournament in the country. How important can something like this be? In most places, not so important, of course. But Beartown isn’t most places."

This small Sweedish town is located in a forest, near a lake, in the middle of nowhere, where the people are “tough as the forest and hard as the ice.” Everyone knows that it is a Hockey Town.  The boys grow up wanting to play, and the town lives for the games.

To understand what really happened when the coaches daughter is raped before a big game, you have to understand the characters of this story.

The coach, Peter, grew up in the town and was the most successful player they ever had, up to know. He went on to the NFL and came back to be the coach. Sune used to be Peter’s coach and, after 50 years, he is still working at the club. Peter’s wife Kari is not from Beartown and sees things very different than Peter and the locals.

Kevin is the best player the team has had in years, but for Kevin’s dad it is all about winning. For his mother she see’s things very differently, since the big game and the rape.

The book keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end, but the overall story does finally come to a conclusion. I especially appreciated, as part of the ending, learning where many of the characters wind up 10 years later.

I thought Backman’s book “A Man Called Ove” was one that presented deep insight into characters, but this book brings many characters together with even deeper insight for them individually and collectively.

A powerful book and far more than just a hockey sports story, for sure.


See Past Reviews Section for Review of "A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman"