Book Reviews of Beartown

ISBN-13: 9781501160769
ISBN-10: 1501160761
Publication Date: 5/2/2017
Pages: 336
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 39 ratings
Publisher: Atria Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

14 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Beartown on + 980 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed Beartown on + 543 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book!
I loved the many characters, both likeable and not!
I loved the location and the description of living in very few hours of daylight.
I loved the whole hockey team and their very talented players. I don't even watch or like hockey, but this made me a fan!
There was nothing I didn't like about this dark, humorless and grave story.
I couldn't take my eyes from this novel until finished.

There is a "Beartown #2 coming! Can't wait!
reviewed Beartown on + 103 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed Beartown on + 165 more book reviews
Sorry to say, unless you absolutely LOVE hockey, this book will bore you to death! I tried and tried to like it but the repetition was just so darn boring. Finally gave up, short of 100 pages. I really enjoyed reading Backman's A Man Called Ove, so hoped this would be nearly that great. And I'm too old to waste time reading a book that I don't enjoy. My TBR pile numbers 588 now, so have to spend time wisely. :)
reviewed Beartown on + 817 more book reviews
Ove is on my keeper shelf and I've read it three times already. Beartown is powerful and moving but also devastating. The reviews that describe it as "darker" than his other books aren't kidding. If you want to experience the pain of well written characters this is the book for you. If you're looking for a charming beach read, pass on this now and wait until winter to pick it up. It tells an important story.
reviewed Beartown on + 265 more book reviews
I was excited to read this one, since it was getting such high star ratings, and I loved Backman's Ove book. So did I love Beartown? Not really.
The book is about a struggling town that is filled with hockey fanatics. Their junior league team is gearing up for the semi-finals, and the boys of the team can do no wrong... until one of them does.
I struggled with getting into the book- the tone is very dark. I never really became overly attached to any of the characters, maybe due to the sheer number of them. They just weren't very likable. I was also very frustrated with Backman's choice of writing style here. He would drop these little "hints" about future events, and the writing seemed somewhat choppy and repetitive. The ending was also frustrating, because Backman simply dropped more hints as to the futures of some of the characters. I had to go back and re-read a few times to make sure I hadn't missed anything, and even then I'm not 100% sure I got it right.
This one felt like Backman was simply trying too hard to be profound, and I think he missed the mark.
Trigger warnings: Rape, bullying
reviewed Beartown on + 1049 more book reviews
There is not much I can add to what others have written about this novel except to say that it is a good read. Members of my family are involved in hockey but the depth of the anger and involvement at a junior level seemed out of proportion to me. One thing really bothered me and that was the repetition of "Bang, bang, bang, bang." I've not heard a hockey puck make that type of noise and it was irritating probably to the point where I gave this read four stars and thought about giving it three. It was jarring.

This is a very good read but I wanted to see the depth the author has given to some of his earlier characters. Perhaps that wasn't possible because there were so many. We know primarily how the characters relate to hockey, hockey players and each other because of hockey. Yes, I know how small towns can get involved in sports, particularly when there isn't much else for involvement. I grew up in a very small town and the sport was basketball. I even tried playing but I was much too short so I warmed the bench during my brief attempt at the community sport. However, our teams were never this good.

So much angst. So much anger. So much dark emotion. The author calls attention to the dark side of what can happen when a community and most of its population become so involved they lose sight of all the reasons for participating in sports. There is so much more to playing than winning.
A young member of our family who loves hockey, the skills involved and the teamwork prefers to participate on B teams rather than the A teams.

I do applaud the author for writing a different novel from his earlier works because it's too easy to fall back on the formulas that work. My favorite characters were Maya, Ana, Amat, Benji, and Suni. Suni? Now there's a story that needs to be told. Maybe the author will.
reviewed Beartown on + 110 more book reviews
The book was very good, written from many, many people in the town's perspective. Some you will hate, others you will just feel ashamed of, some you will love.

The beginning is very, very slow. I am a hockey fan and I was losing interest, but it picks up. It is obvious what the Event is going to be and what the town is going to do. So much of it was just blatantly obvious at what was going to happen I had to remove the first star.

When we get closer to the climax and we see what choices each individual makes, some make you so proud and some make you so angry. I live in a sports town, so I know how true this is.

The vagueness of some of the endings lost the other star. Some were very clear, while other were eluded to or straight out made into a freaking puzzle. I I'd not like that at all.

Everyone is saying that this is such an amazing book and how poignant the subject matter is, but I just didn't read it that way. I thought it was very good. But a lot of the perspectives were so vague and trying to be deep or profound or telling stories that weren't relevant. I sort of skimmed some of those. I would recommend it though!
reviewed Beartown on + 334 more book reviews
If the subject matter seems cliche, it is with good reason. Whether hockey or football, where is the line between lessons learned and the sport taking over until it reigns, esp. in a small town. Backman's characters are well-fleshed and the story is real. His foreshadowing is spot-on, just enough to retain interest and then dropped when the reader needs to be in the moment. I did not want to put this book down.
reviewed Beartown on + 624 more book reviews
I love hockey, but you don't have to be a hockey fan to enjoy this book. It is heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting. I read and read to finish it until I felt like my eyes were going to bleed, just like a player's teeth after getting slammed into the boards.
reviewed Beartown on + 1058 more book reviews
Beartown by Fredrik Backman starts of with a lot of characters and a lot of hockey. Somewhere along the way, the characters and the background fade, and people emerge. The story remains about ice hockey, but not in the way you might imagine. The story becomes about the question about how far a person, a set of people, or a town will go to put club above all. As with Fredrik Backman's other books, the people and the emotions take over, and I read furiously until the end to find out the answer.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed for NetGalley
reviewed Beartown on + 726 more book reviews
This is a good read as all Backman's books seem to be. The characters are sometimes larger than life but there is so much about hockey that I can't say I enjoyed this one as much as some of the others. Still, it is very well written and I liked the ending. I will be reading the next book with these characters, too.
reviewed Beartown on + 59 more book reviews
Goodness, how I hated this book! Sometimes I buy a book because of all the good reviews on Amazon and I don't like to read the one star reviews because of spoilers. How I wish I had read the bad reviews on this book. I can agree with all of the one star reviews. Again, I HATED IT!. SPOILERS-------- Think Christine Blasey Ford's testimony. I could not like any of these characters and this is not a murder mystery like I thought it was going to be.
reviewed Beartown on + 57 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It was a large cast of characters so took a little time to sort them all out. Other than that, it was a great story that kept me completely engaged. It revolves around a town obsessed with hockey. When the star player gets into trouble, everyone seems to take a side and the reactions and counter-reactions are so real. So many interesting plotlines throughout the book. I understand there is a sequel-anxious to read it.