“Us Against You” starts out telling us “It’s Going to Be Someone’s Fault”. Then it asks and continues, “Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. We’ll end up saying that violence came to “Beartown” this summer, but that will be a lie; the violence was already here. Because sometimes hating one another is so easy that is seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.”
The characters in “Us Against You” have evolved since we first meet them in Fredrik Backman’s book “Beartown”. We may have thought we knew them, but "Backman’s" writing style adds layer after layer of details and that take us deeper into the truth of both towns, “Beartown and Hed”.
Reading “Us Against You” doesn’t seem like a continuation of the first story, even though that is exactly what it is. It seems like we finally really understand the characters who all seem much more a part of the story.
A couple of new characters show up. A local politician manipulates both towns and a lady coach bring out new concerns and challenges. The town is headed for a new tragedy. Some, who we see as bigots and bullies, turn out to also be generous and selfless sometimes. The all-important hockey culture seems pure and able to stay out of all the issues but then it does inspire violence.
Violence has moved into the community and the competition of the game serves to inspire it at times and then defuse it at times. The author writes that, “When guys are scared of the dark they’re scared of ghosts and monsters but when girls are scared of the dark they’re scared of guys.” Margaret Atwood said it better and with more authority decades ago with her quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
This is a good book. I think it is important to have read “Beartown” first but I do think that “Us Against You” is the better book, because of “Beartown”.
Quote from Us Against You
“He’s twelve years old, and this summer he learns that people will always choose a simple lie over a complicated truth, because the lie has one unbeatable advantage: the truth always has to stick to what actually happened, whereas the lie just has to be easy to believe.”
“Everyone is a hundred different things, but in other people’s eyes we usually get the chance to be only one of them.”
“Unfairness is a far more natural state in the world than fairness.”
“Exclusion is a form of exhaustion that eats its way into your skeleton.”
“Sometimes people have to be allowed to have something to live for in order to survive everything else.”
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Swedish Novelist Fredrik Backman
Click on Book Covers, Bear Town, A Man Called Ove, and And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer and Longer above to link to Reviews