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

"Beartown is filled with unforgettable characters that you will cry for, champion, be enraged at, and be inspired by. I could not put this book down, and I didn’t want it to end! A breathtaking fable of ambition, hope, and courage" - Alan

From the critics

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Jun 19, 2018

Having not read any of Backman's previous books I came to this one untainted. Short chapters build, one after the next, and most of it inspires in me the feeling that it is easy to put down but also easy to move forward in. Then something happens and suddenly the book is far more interesting, compelling actually, and it still has those short chapters. This book put me in a place and showed me the people in that place. It has a good story and is just terribly readable. I found myself carrying it around to knock off a few extra chapters in spare moments and if that's not the sign of a good read I don't know what is. I very much enjoyed this book.

Jun 06, 2018

This has the makings of a Scandi-version of 13 Reasons Why, minus the suicide. Good read.

racing14 May 29, 2018

The author has a great way of telling a story with multiple characters playing an important role and slowly unfolding the pieces. He sets up the story beautifully. Each character has their own struggles and defining moment. Makes a great bookclub selection, lots of things to discuss and very timely subject matter. Looking forward to Book #2..Us Against You.

May 21, 2018

I vacillated wildly between hating this book and loving it. The depth of the small town’s love of its hockey teams and coaches rang true for me, as I have experienced how important a sport can feel. In Beartown, it was the binding agent of the community. Why did I hate it? Because the author liked to insert foreboding comments just when things seemed to be going all right. For example, he would hint that had an alternative action been taken, it would have made all the difference. It felt like a series of ominous cliffhangers. Why did I love it? Because the resolutions of all the conflicts were unexpected, but just; and good ultimately triumphed.

Apr 29, 2018

"She can't explain why she cares for sports, because she's learned that if you have to ask the question, you simply wouldn't understand the answer."

If this quote from Beartown leaves you nodding your head and saying "I know," then you will truly appreciate this book on all levels. When you give yourself and your devotion to a sport and to a team, it can be a demanding mistress, often taking more than you thought you could give. When everything is riding on a game or a season, it can engulf you, as it does the people of Beartown, to the point where right and wrong become blurred. And once the town slides over that line, it takes everything in it to right the ship.

The incident that rocks the town takes away much of what the town prizes and while the ending gives reason for hope, it also leaves as many questions as answers.

Beyond the issue of sports, Beartown portrays what small town life can often be like in a way that is both lovingly respectful and critical. Bachman never shies away from showing us the ugly underbelly of the town and its people, but he also shows us what can be beautiful about being a part of a tightly-knit community.

While some readers may think it a bit sentimental, I doubt anyone can disagree about how evocative the writing is. Bachman creates a solid sense of place here. The reader knows he would recognize Beartown if he ever happened upon it.

I rarely re-read books, but this one I know I will.

Apr 28, 2018

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees, but down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the workingmen who founded this town, and that ice rink is the reason people believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national semifinals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. A victory would send star player Kevin on to a brilliant future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. It would justify the choice that Peter, the team's general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil.
Hers is a story no one wants to believe, since doing so would mean the end of the dream.
Accusations are made, and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. Beartown explores the hopes that bring a community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. (Description slightly edited from the hardcover book flap.)

Is it heresy to say that Beartown is just as good as A Man Called Ove? Well, then call me a heretic, because Beartown is that good. Actually, Beartown and A Man Called Ove are two entirely different kinds of stories. The one constant is the author. Fredrick Backman is a heck of a writer.

Mr. Backman has a sequel to Beartown coming out in June, Us Against You. I’ll be looking for it.

Apr 25, 2018

I thought this book was a great read. I wasn't too sure I was going to make it through when I saw it was about hockey, but hockey was only the thread of the story. There were so many current topics covered and I shed a few tears reading the last pages.

kkoenigc Apr 04, 2018

This book left an impression unlike some where I just put it down and go to the next.
It's story touches on many subjects that are currently discussed today: racial biases, class division, sexual classifications, bullying and many more. It will stay with me for a long time.

Mar 13, 2018

It was ok. Very slow at the beginning. Didn't feel like there was much character development - very flat characters. For me personally, too much hockey! I have read Ove and My Grandmother and thought they were excellent. This one, sadly, was very disappointing.

Mar 11, 2018

Love Backman’s other books but for some reason this one was hard to follow...I don’t really like hockey, it may explain it.

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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

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

Jun 02, 2017

“Culture is as much about what we encourage as what we permit” - p. 66

Jun 02, 2017

“Sports creates complicated men, proud enough to refuse to admit their mistakes, but humble enough always to put their team first.” - p. 58

Jun 02, 2017

“It’s only a game. It only resolves tiny, insignificant things. Such as who gets validation. Who gets listened to. It allocates power and draws boundaries and turns some people into stars and others into spectators. Thats all.” - p. 53


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JCLEmilyD Sep 09, 2017

Violence: rape

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