Beartown - Beartown, Bk 1 Author:Fredrik Backman Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of ... more »talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated coach whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.
At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the coach’s daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.« less
Beartown is a small hockey town in Sweden that rests all its hopes and dreams on the junior hockey team winning the national 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.
Backman is a masterful writer and this one will leave you reeling. His characters are well-drawn and the story is well-told. What amazes me about Backman is his knowledge of human behavior and how humans generally will react in certain situations. This story could have happened in any small town and would probably have the same repercussions. It is a highly emotional read and you don't have to like hockey in order to enjoy it. I have read one other novel by Backman, A Man Called Ove and enjoyed that one too. This book is a bit darker than that one but one that you should not miss reading. I look forward to reading the next book by Backman and I highly recommend this one to those who like to read about human behavior.
This is a powerful story about hockey and small town life and human nature and love. I'll be thinking about it for quite some time. My only regret for listening to the audio was I couldn't reread some of the beautifully written passages in this novel.