Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I did not read anything about this book before I began reading it, I loved A Man Called Ove so much, I just went on and randomly picked another by the same author. Despite being glad to have read this book, because it was amazing – I also wish that I had picked a different book because the story was quite difficult for me to read due to my own experiences.
Firstly, the writing style was wonderful. The way the author makes you see the intricacies of a small town and the politics that run through it – and why those run through it, was spectacular. In some parts, a little too repetitive, I really did understand why the town loved it’s hockey so much by a third of the way through, and didn’t need long paragraphs continuously explaining this to remind me.
Secondly, excellent characters. I feel we all have a friend like Maggan Lyt that we all want to pretend isn’t our friend. Character development was so well described, and even though there were quite a lot of characters, I knew each character thoroughly – including their motivators – as if they’d each been given a book. Writing teen characters can be tough, but this was perfect. Benji was my hero, and the hero of the story, and it was his exact character to carry the story without being it’s main protagonist – as that was his life, amazing writing.
Finally, the story itself. It’s the one we all know, the one we hate to know, and the one that is most difficult to read about because it’s so common ad we wish it wasn’t. The author did well presenting every part of the story, including the ending. I think the end result was actually quite neutral, and that in itself is almost a positive ending all things considered.
This is a scathing look at sports culture at its worst, and the repercussions of that culture. The male dominated world, the homophobia, the disregard of others, the feeling of dominance, the male aggression – it’s all there on display throughout this story.
I would recommend people read the blurb before buying, but I am almost glad I didn’t as this was so well-written. Loved it, was just a bit repetitive for the full five stars for me.