Beartown

Beartown

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First Atria Books hardcover edition.
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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.
Edition: First Atria Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501160769
1501160761
Branch Call Number: BAC
Characteristics: 418 pages

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a
amccannel
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.

1
1_Great_Book
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.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
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

r
redtayres
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.

l
lozza1401
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.

m
m0mmyl00
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. Dot...dot...dot. 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.

t
talk2terih
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.

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Quotes

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r
roygbivinthesky
Sep 02, 2018

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

r
roygbivinthesky
Sep 02, 2018

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

r
roygbivinthesky
Sep 02, 2018

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

r
roygbivinthesky
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."

r
roygbivinthesky
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

l
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

c
cknightkc
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

c
cknightkc
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

c
cknightkc
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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JCLEmilyD Sep 09, 2017

Violence: rape

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