Fredrik Backman         Pages: 415     Published: 2017

The book: Beartown is a small town in economic decline. The local junior ice hockey team has made it to the national semi-finals. The whole town is vested in the team and its success. A violent act occurs that is related to the team. How will the team and the town handle it? Where will priorities lie?

You might like it because: This is a well-crafted story that challenges the reader to think about how we raise our children, what we teach them, and how important winning is to us as a society.  It is timely and particularly relevant today.

What did other people say?
“[It’s] Backman’s rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town.  While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through ultimately offering hope and even redemption.”    – Publishers Weekly

“There are, in the end, real acts of bravery and sacrifice in this appealing novel.”
                           – Wall Street Journal  

How quickly will you get into the book?  I have to admit I almost gave up on this book, although I’m very glad I kept reading. Backman spends the first part of the book providing backstory on all the main characters … and there are quite a lot of them. For me the story started around page one hundred and fifty-eight. From that point onwards I couldn’t put it down.

You might not like it because: This is a book for the very patient. It’s a long, slow start, which might make some readers want to give up and move onto another book.

What might you read next?
Backman is Swedish, so you could read one of the most famous Swedish books of recent times: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson.

Or you could read a non-fiction book about an American hockey team: The Boys of Winter by Wayne Coffey, which tells the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team.

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