May 1, 2019 at 9:48 am #5873
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.
Available on Amazon.comJuly 1, 2019 at 12:11 pm #6186
I’m enjoying this book a lot but it’s taking me a long time to get through it. It’s been so busy to just sit down for some traditional reading. Hoping to finish it up soon.July 2, 2019 at 12:22 pm #6195
I need to get my thoughts together on this one, but for the moment I’m just going to say that I really liked this one. It was different from what I expected and different from other books Backman has written, but it is a fantastic character study.July 2, 2019 at 3:10 pm #6196
I agree. It is different. And it offers very interesting insight into hockey. My only exposure to the sport is the San Jose Sharks & I’m far from having any strong knowledge about it. I learn more & more each year but the intensity (in any sport, really) is very interesting. To have a whole town basing their livelihood on it, even more so.
Still working my way through it but enjoying it very much.July 22, 2019 at 3:03 pm #6232
Oh man – I still have a third of this book left but I’m completely engrossed.
I enjoyed the first half a great deal, laying the groundwork for the culture and passion for sport – but wow, the second half….July 23, 2019 at 10:59 am #6233
I have a lot of thoughts on this book. I know I won’t be able to vocalize all that I can in one post but here are some nuggets.
The “bro code”, the culture that is created – often innocently enough with racy jokes that set the tone, the definitions & boundaries society puts on boys & girls, the blame & finger pointing – this book touched on it all. It was heartbreaking that Maya couldn’t have a voice because she didn’t have the evidence but a boy’s word was enough to vindicate them. That is our world today in the big cities & small towns.
We hear a lot about rape culture in the media but this book took it to a granular level. The leaders who let the vulgar jokes slide because it broke tension or the vulgar gestures & gyrations that are all fun & games….until they’re not. Ramona’s comment about hockey is not the reason, the man is…..Yes, I get that. It’s true. Don’t placate the criminal because of the sport. But the hockey culture taught the boy that it was okay. When David(?) had to witness his son glorifying rape, that was a blow. I hope it opened his eyes more to what Peter felt for his daughter.
The small voices are what had me in tears. It’s easy to follow the mob. It’s easy to let intimidation & fear rule you. But it’s the one little voice that can shift the collective. Amat showing up at the meeting; the poor kid from the Hollow. Ramona speaking up; the crazy old cout from the bar. Everyone would have voted one way had these voices not spoken up. It’s served as a good reminder that even if you’re the voice of dissension – it is a voice of change.
I’m still trying to wrap my opinions about the other moms (Mrs Lyt) as I don’t know many women like that so I don’t understand it. Like Ramona said – as humans, we can falter between right & wrong, but good & evil is an easy choice. To choose evil over good – that’s how I saw that woman. And I don’t understand it. I can’t wrap my head around a woman like that.
July 23, 2019 at 2:28 pm #6235
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Maryrose.
The last sequence in the woods – the rhythm of the author’s writing was so well done. I had to go back and read that section again.
I imagine the women, who never got justice, who burn with revenge – how many want to be in that position — To be able to instill that terror into their attacker and bring some power back to themselves? It was a poetic moment, even more so that her grace saw her through it and she walked away with her life…and allowed him to live – with a small measure of the scars & terror that he put on her. Man, that was so well done.July 31, 2019 at 6:25 am #6250
I am hoping I can go back and get to this one soon.August 2, 2019 at 5:48 am #6263
Yay, I was able to start this and hopefully I’ll have it knocked out in the next week. But, an old romance book is calling to me, so I’m doing my BEST not to succumb to the calls haha! 🙂August 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm #6277
Done. Okay, well, I can’t say I “liked” this book. I just didn’t. Oh well. I was able to read it in about a week, so it wasn’t a huge time investment. This book simultaneously stressed me out and depressed me at the same time. Most of the characters pissed me off and were despicable, so that’s always tough for me when there is a large cast of characters, but very few that I actually like. Yes, several came out looking okay in the end, but just not a fan of anyone except Maya, and (mostly) her mom. The subject matter of rape-culture in youth sport was interesting, but again, I usually like escapism in my reading, and this book definitely did not provide that.
Add that to the fact that I absolutely hate hockey with a passion. It may be the sport I hate the most. Something about it always bothered me, but I wasn’t able to articulate my dislike of it until I was older. Mainly, that fighting occurs in the sport, is encouraged and condoned. Hate that! Fighting occurs in every sport, males and females, young and old, got that. But, in baseball if fights occur, punishments happen. Same in basketball. Shit, even football. Does the punishment always fit the fight? No. At least most sports try to regulate it in some way. I can’t stand hockey for that reason. For a minute, I’ll be like, okay, I am enjoying watching the skill of moving the puck around, scoring goals, playing defense, etc. The next, gloves are thrown off and players are in an all-out brawl while refs literally just stand there. Ugh! Makes me sick. And it’s not that I’m even bothered by fighting sports, like boxing or MMA. I actually enjoy those 2 sports. But, again, they’re not fighting disguised as something else. They’re just fighting. Fine, got it. I would never let Rhett get anywhere near hockey, so that tells you a lot right there. Okay, that’s my hockey-hate rant haha!
Youth sports insanity, omg, it’s real! We live it in our area, which is renowned and insane about baseball. We live it every day. My reactions to those portions of the book were visceral, because we live it (just with baseball instead of hockey). Our area has a big population and many baseball programs, so the small town, everyone knows everyone feeling is not here. But, I grew up in a town like that (which was a football area), so I definitely can relate to that part in a different way. Rhett just tried out for fall baseball yesterday! He moves up in age-level, so lots of new changes ahead. He tried out to pitch. He had 14 coaches standing around him on the mound with laptops and clip boards while he pitched in the tryout. He just turned 9! Yup, it’s crazy. Youth sports craziness makes me mostly sad. Rhett plays baseball because he loves it and wants to improve. Scott and I are definitely more laid back in our sports parenting style. We do not care or expect him to earn a college scholarship for a sport. We save for college regardless. We put no pressure on him to do anything. But trust me, we are surrounded by some pretty intense parents, some of them nice, some are assholes. Some put the most insane amount of pressure on their kids this young to earn college scholarships in their sport. Both boys and girls. I see it with both. When Rhett did not get chosen for the 2nd summer travel team in his age group in May, it caused a huge amount of drama in the league. It was insane. I haven’t talked about it much, and it is a 2-hour story all told. But, we literally lived insanity regarding the situation for a month. I still get approached and talked to about it every week!
Luckily, the kindness and support was on our side, as it was others that were the villains in the story.
So yeah, not opposed to sports stories. Or youth stories. Just did not like this book and it depressed me, so now I’m off to read a touchy-feely, knights in shining armor romance I haven’t read in 25 years! 🙂 🙂 🙂
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