A Novel

Book - 2017
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"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 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 general manager 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 general manager'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. Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people's dreams on our shoulders."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781501160769
Branch Call Number: BACKMAN
Characteristics: 418 pages ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Smith, Neil (Neil Andrew)
Alternative Title: Bear town


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Staff Book Review: Beartown

It’s been awhile since I’ve really loved a good book. Perhaps Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park was the last book that I finished and just wanted to hug. With Fredrik Backman’s Beartown, every page and every word, completely broke my heart into a million pieces.

Beartown is the name of a fictional small-town whose residents all pin their hopes and dreams on the local junior boys hockey team. (more)

From Library Staff

...every page and every word, completely broke my heart into a million pieces.

From the critics

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DBRL_AlyssaW Nov 30, 2018

The strongest aspect of this novel by far is the character development. For me, the minor characters were what really drew me in (especially Amat and Benjamin). Backman is good at faking you out - you think the characters will go in one direction, but they never stop growing and surprising you. The short sections within the chapters which jump between the characters make the book move quickly, so it is very bingeable. This story beautifully explores the interplay between culture, community, and individual identity. The complexity and gravity of rape culture and the countless ways it plays out in everyday life is (sadly) realistic - from locker room talk to victim blaming - arguing that “culture is as much about what we encourage as what we permit.” Though the subject matter is heavy and the situations bleak, there are threads of hope and empowerment that make this novel uplifting overall.

Nov 28, 2018

Although the journey was difficult, I am so glad I made an effort to finish this book. The end was unexpected and empowering. I sobbed more than once while listening to this book on my commute because by the end of this novel, I genuinely cared about the characters and the consequences.

Nov 19, 2018

Beartown is a hockeycrazed town where life revolves round the Junior team. Everyone is a player, a GM, a coach, a family member or a fan. Hockey is all-compassing. One season the team goes all the way and reaches the final. Will this be the year they become champions? Alas, the book is a coming of age story where one of the team members, the star no less, may be accused of a crime and miss the game. Every character is well-sketched and the incidents are heart rending. Regardless, of whether you are a hockey player, a parent, a fan or just enjoy a good book this one's for you.

Nov 19, 2018

didn't read.......

IndyPL_KatieB Oct 10, 2018

Although I was late to the party by reading this in 2018, Beartown is on track to make my best of list for this year. Backman's descriptions lead you to be invested in many characters, even when you guess their intentions may not be so pure. I had trouble putting this one down.

Sep 01, 2018

I loved "A Man Called Ove", and expected something along the same line in this book. But it is very different. I did not like this book.
I found the use of short sections within each chapter created very choppy reading.
The back cover says "A brilliant mix of belly laughs..." Really??? I must have missed the humour. The topic is serious, and there was nothing in the story that brought even close to a laugh from me.

Aug 29, 2018

No need to be a hockey enthusiast to enjoy this book. Any Canadian can relate to the struggle between the desire to achieve excellence and the spirit of team play in its national sport. Excellent character and plot development set in the context of a decaying very small town.

DCLadults Aug 09, 2018

I put aside my lack of hockey interest and focused on the well drawn characters in Beartown.
As a long time fan of Fredrik Backman....this doesn't disappoint. Beartown is a coming of age story set in a small town in Canada. It explores moral failures, and contemporary issues.
It is an "empathetic examination of the fragile human spirit."

Nicr Jul 01, 2018

Small-town hockey for all the marbles. A big game night that becomes something else. Not very well written: telling in lieu of character development, lots of unfortunate humor with characters laughing annoyingly on the page, and a truly absurd amount of crying. Moves quickly, though, once it finally gets going, and interesting on hockey.

Jun 20, 2018

This, is the tale of a small town in Quebec, in the dead middle of nowhere. With the lives of all its citizens snared around one game of hockey, it sets quite the tone for the entire book and its secrets. What actually happened for something to set off such a large spark? Could anyone have foretold what was to happen? All these questions keep readers (focus on young adult) plowing through the novel, until they reach the bittersweet ending at last. I would recommend if you don't mind slow starts to books! @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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Sep 02, 2018

"Sometimes life doesn't let you choose your battles. Just the company you keep."

Sep 02, 2018

"Staying silent in return for being allowed to join in."

Sep 02, 2018

"Sune has always been more interested in the length of the string than the size of the balloon."

Sep 02, 2018

"That was the morning the boy realized that the only way to become better than the bears at their own game was to stop playing it their way."

Sep 01, 2018

"Hockey is a sport that rewards repetition. The same exercises, the same movements, until a player's responses become instinctive, branded into his marrow. The puck doesn't just glide, it bounces as well, so acceleration is more important than maximum speed, hand-eye coordination more important than strength. The ice judges you by your ability to change direction and thought quicker than anyone else-that's what separates the best players from the rest."

JanieHH Aug 02, 2017

“She’s fifteen, above the age of consent, and he’s seventeen, but he’s still “the boy” in every conversation. She’s “the young woman”.

Words are not small things.”
― Fredrik Backman, Beartown

letstakeashelfie Jun 22, 2017

"There's a thin line between living and surviving, but there's one positive side effect of being both romantic and very competitive: you never give up." -p.123

Jun 02, 2017

“Community is the fact that we work toward the same goal, that we accept our respective roles in order to reach it. Values is the fact that we trust each other. That we love each other…. For me, culture is as much about what we encourage as what we actually permit.” - p. 210

Jun 02, 2017

“People sometimes say that sorrow is mental but longing is physical. One is a wound, the other an amputated limb, a withered petal compared to a snapped stem. Anything that grows closely enough to what it loves will eventually share the same roots. We can talk about loss, we can treat it and give it time, but biology still forces us to live according to certain rules: plants that are split down the middle don’t heal, they die.” - p. 138

Jun 02, 2017

“One of the plainest truths about towns and individuals is that they usually don’t turn into what we tell them to be, but what they are told they are.” - p. 73

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Oct 09, 2018

maplesyrupp thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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JCLEmilyD Sep 09, 2017

Violence: rape


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