A Novel

Book - 2017 | Simon & Schuster Canada edition
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Feb 20, 2021

I have read 5 books by Fredrik Backman and loved every one of them until Beartown. I do not like the culture of sports with winning as the ultimate goal as opposed to learning teamwork and personal growth. Until the violent event that drives the second half of the novel, I really disliked the book intensely. I especially hated the ostracism, prejudice, and homophobic attitudes that characterized the players without constraint. Mr. Backman's novels have always been ones of hope or humor, but this one had not humor for me. I don't want to give away the ending, so I will not say more. I still recommend the author heartily! Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 08, 2021

Beartown is a fictional novel that centers around a small town whose citizens live for hockey. The story follows the perspective of different people throughout the town, and their thoughts and actions when a shockingly tragic event strikes their community. I would highly recommend this book, as it carries many different themes and stories within it. It addresses hard topics in an honest and insightful way. It has a bit of a slow start, but ends up completely captivating and gripping you. This is an incredible read, but it does include descriptive depictions of sexual assault, which can be triggering to some.

Dec 31, 2020

What I love about this book is that the community feels like a character who has an active impact on the plot. There are so many secondary characters that make the city feel real, like a place you could find yourself in by chance during a road trip. A thrilling exploration of how private trauma can become distorted and manipulated by public drama.

Nov 09, 2020


ArapahoeKarenQB Oct 01, 2020

I loved A Man Called Ove, so I had high expectations for this book. It's very different. In many ways, it's a tough read (sexual assault), and the misogyny of some of the characters is pretty hard to stomach. I thought it was pretty good, but I wasn't crazy about it. I did like the ending.

Sep 08, 2020

I really liked this a lot.
The way Backman unfolded the ending, I've never experienced an unpacking like that (novice reader).
The character development at the start was worrying me a bit, was getting overwhelmed by nearly meeting the whole town.
I am picking up the sequel this afternoon. Back to back Backman!

Aug 23, 2020

I am definitely not a fan of hockey, but I enjoyed this book very much. I finally understand how wrapped up people become in a sport. This book crosses all generations. It's about love and hatred and loneliness and pride and character and parenting and being a teenager and LIFE. Terrific book.

May 31, 2020

“The very worst events in life have that effect on a family: we always remember, more sharply than anything else, the last happy moments before everything fell apart.”

This book was a very nice surprise and it wouldn’t have been under my “reading radar” if it wasn’t a recommendation from my friend. So, thank you KB! Definitively book was much more than a hockey story....Time well spent.... I loved it!

May 27, 2020

This at times heart-wrenching novel that asks readers to consider morality, honesty, belonging, the role of heroes and how our silence can empower the wrong people. Many Canadians will feel drawn to the story as it centers around hockey and some of the well drawn characters feel familiar. The prose has moments of sentimentality and at times plot details veer into common tropes, but overall it is worth a read. This is the first in a series of books.

Jan 17, 2020

"there are few words that are harder to expain then "loyalty".Its always regarded as a positive characteristic, because a lot of people would say that mwny of the best things people do for earh other occur precisely because of loyalty. The only problem is that many of the bery worst things we do to each other occur because of the same thing. "
One of the many, many thoughts I loved in this book.

Jan 13, 2020

I'm not sure how Beartown can be considered a humorous read; the rape of a young girl and ensuing results, including her ostracism and attacks on her family, are not topics I'd consider humorous.
The author's works are poignant, resonating and engrossing, but this book is not what I'd consider humorous.

Dec 29, 2019


Dec 27, 2019

5+ Stars!!


Writing and storytelling perfection. From the foreboding opening to its escalating crescendo, this book held me captive.

Backman uses a third-person omniscient point of view to capture multiple characters, their interactions, and their misguided motivations to tell this story. From the seemingly inconsequential to the most vital, the author laid a foundation and planted seeds to bring the story full circle and it was mesmerizing.

Beartown had everything in it's pages. It was heartrending, witty, inspirational, and at some of its best/worst moments, emotionally devastating. The nuances were smart and subtle. In the end, this book was a dichotomy - at times, maddening and difficult to read, but equally hard to put down. Perfection

Dec 04, 2019

At first I was not sure whether I would finish reading this book as I was so angry at the community for being so sports captivated. However, I was soon caught up in the writing and the story. I could relate this book to real communities where the residents lives are lived around a single sport and those who play are idolized. When finished reading this I had to read the sequel to find out what happened next. Can fractured communities and families be healed?

Dec 04, 2019

This book has stuck with me for over two years. As the parent of athletes and a coach, I get angry when politics become involved in sports and bad behavior is excused as "boys will by boys." How about we are all humans? Beartown brings these issues to the reader and I'm glad that book clubs are taking this book on.

Nov 30, 2019

In Beartown, a small community isolated in the cold woods, hockey means everything. Hockey is who they are, and the whole country will know that once their star junior teams makes it to the finals. However, the star player is accused of raping a young girl. Everyone in the town is effected, and it's how they handle it that determines the town's fate.

4.5/5: Read this book. It's VERY character based, and slow-burn, but... Backman's writing makes it worth it. Every person effected in the town gets a narrative, and the way their morals (or lack of morals) are presented is so intriguing. All the characters are well developed in a simple yet complex way. The book is about ~400 pages, but it was so immersive that I didn't mind.

I love all the characters, but by far my favorite is Benji. I would read a whole novel based off Benji. He's reckless and carefree, but he has a deep and raw love for the things that really matter in his life. That's a dangerous combination for anyone, but... dammit I fell for it. I also have a special place for Amat and Maya. Both characters went through a lot of growth, and overcame a lot of difficulties in their lives. But they pulled through and stood up for themselves while protecting their loved ones, even if they were rejected by others. All the characters are really well written, and I appreciate how they all stayed true to their character while doing brave things. It's easy for a character to do something different for the sake of the plot, which makes it feel like they broke character. But every character had a logical reasoning to their beliefs and actions (a great example is Kevin's dad, or David, or Amat, etc). The only thing that seemed out of place was when characters would start saying some deep-philosophical thought; for some scenes, it felt out of character. But anyway, the ending. The climax had me SHOOK, I was so scared. But I'm happy with the ending. It seems perfect for a stand alone, but I still want to read the novel. Also, there are a lot of quotable passages in this book. Many sentences either made me stop and think or lingered with me for the rest of the day. The story dragged occasionally, and it's VERY slow burn, but I liked it.

What I Take Away: Life is lived in moments. What we do now impacts tomorrow and everyone around us. Also, strength comes from being able to stand tall when faced with fear. A strong person isn't necessarily the most popular person, rather, it's usually the opposite. It's the person who's willing to go against the crowd and stand up for themselves that's the strongest.

Aug 14, 2019

Buried under thick layers of philosophical talk about hockey is a pretty good story. I had to struggle through the first third of the book before it picked up. The end also dragged. I stuck with it because I enjoyed "A man called Ove," but Beartown was totally missing the dark humour that made AMCO so likable.

Aug 06, 2019

I really loved this novel about a town and it's hockey obsession. It's about a lot of things and although the hockey was in your face every page, it did what it was supposed to do on many levels: interest you, put you in the place and time, and keep you reading hoping for certain characters to prevail. Loved it.

It took me 150 pages to get into this book but when the story of the real character of Beartown finally percolates through, i realize why I needed to know so much about the boys on the team and the instinct to put team before everything else ( including morality). So for the non-hockey readers, stick with it; there is a very provocative novel waiting once you have ploughed through the hockey culture backdrop.

Jun 19, 2019

DNF - About a hockey crazy town

Jun 16, 2019

Overly dramatic, preachy, slow read.

Jun 12, 2019

Fabulous book. I don't care for hockey, but this book is about hockey in the same way The Boys in the Boat is about rowing.

Great character development, great storytelling. The tale is told by leading out a little rope at a time.

Fabulous first VERY SHORT chapter that lets you know upfront how it will end, but takes a fascinating journey getting to the predicted end.

_McGeek_ Jun 04, 2019

I was recommended this book by many people and it did not disappoint. It was written in such an interesting and captivating way I hadn't expected and was pleasantly surprised. I honestly don't think it matters that I grew up in Canada raised around hockey and hockey rinks, and currently live in a mountain town, I don't think it makes this book any more enjoyable for me than it would for someone with no hockey knowledge who grew up on a beach. It's about the people, the culture, and the dangers of sports idolization in general, no previous hockey knowledge required.

VaughanPLDavidB Mar 12, 2019

Understanding that this is is trilogy has radically altered my initial dim view of this book. It is actually the excellent opening act of the story of the death of Beartown. I'm more than half way though Part 2, Us Against You, and loving it.

Feb 27, 2019

This was my first novel by Mr. Backman. I absolutely loved it. I am not a hockey or sports fan, and, when reading the synopsis, it echoed common story lines (13 Reasons Why), so I was intrigued to see how it was going to be different. After the first few chapters, it was apparent why it has such high ratings. He is very detailed in character development and foreshadowing. By the time I reached the climax of the novel, I felt close with the characters and felt an emotional connection with each. I'm looking forward to reading Us Against Them, as well as A Man Called Ove and his other books.

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