Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I've been reading A LOT of fantasy this year, full on epic fantasies that are often really lengthy and in-depth and after finishing the mammoth that is The Priory of the Orange Tree I felt the need for a little break, a little bit of contemporary and so I picked up Beartown by Fredrik Backman.
I have heard nothing but amazing things about Backman's books and have been promising myself to get to them but when I saw this on the library shelf I couldn't stop myself from picking it up. I knew a little about its plot, that it was about a hockey-mad small town in the middle of nowhere where a young girl accuses the town's hockey star of rape and the fall out around the events as the town takes sides.
This book was hiding something much more between its pages though, I quickly fell in love with this book because what I found Backman did so well was to be able to introduce a whole myriad of characters from Beartown and make us care about all of them, whether they were a central character or one of those on the periphery. Each and every person lets us into their world and tells us about their world in Beartown and what it means to them and this makes for a powerfully emotional story that feels multi-dimensional and full of amazing relationships.
Through lots of hockey analogies and coaching techniques, we delve into whether or not the town and the hockey team might be to blame for what has happened, whether they have raised the team in the town to believe they are untouchable. We also explore the divide between how boys are treated by the community versus the girls. It's a highly volatile story and one that will prick at the conscience.
I haven't read much contemporary at all over the past year or so, I could count on one hand the number of books of this genre as often I haven't enjoyed them as much but I loved Beartown. I really enjoyed the beautiful writing of Backman and I am now desperately awaiting arrival at my library of the second Beartown book in the series, Us Against You which will allow me a chance to spend more time with all the wonderful residents of this small town.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough and it stands out as one of my favourite books of 2019 so far.