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The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.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 working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, 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.Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. 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 small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
When I started reading this book, I was expecting a warm uplifting story of a small town hockey club. Let me tell you, I was in for quiet a shock.
“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.”
The story begins in a small town called Beartown, which is largely dying due to the lack of oppurtunities and resources. The one thing that holds the town together is the hockey club, which is their pride and joy. The hockey players are idolised and treated like legends. Multiple characters who play a crucial role in the story are introduced in the beginning. We get to have a glimpse of their loves, their dreams, hopes and fears in the initial pages of the book.
What follows after that is the incident, that impacts the entire town and shakes it down to its core. Its raw and its heartbreaking. It will test beliefs, loyalties and friendships.
“Most people don’t do what we tell them to. They do what we let them get away with.”
The story is told in a matter-of-fact almost detached style and that is what makes it so poignant and heart-rending. But even at the height of despair, there is always an underlying thread of hope weaved through the entire story that makes this book unputdownable.
The true beauty of the book lies in that ray of hope which makes you laugh even in the midst of tears.
Many serious issues like rape, bullying, small town politics and ostracisation are dealt with a lot of sensitivity and empathy.
When I finally turned the last page of this book, it left me with a profound sense of hope which is the best possible thing a book can gift you.
I highly, HIGHLY, recommend you to give this book a chance. I promise you, you won’t regret it. Meanwhile, I will be counting down the days to the release of its sequel.
Related posts you might like: Review of Us Against You (Beartown #2)