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.
Current Goodreads Rating: 4.29 Stars
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Simon & Schuster
I'd like to see someone not intrigued by the first chapter of this book. Any book that starts with this much of a punch line to hint at what's to come leaves me invested. I had no idea though the underlying reason for that scene which is what took a dark turn. This book should have a warning for those who have experienced rape. You get to view the inner thoughts of the victim, perpetrator, community, and parents of both surrounding this scene. It hurts listening to the questions being asked and the blame already assigned to this girl before the investigation is even underway. “For the perpetrator, rape lasts just a matter of minutes. For the victim, it never stops.” This is a much deeper storyline than I ever expected. Although it was great it see those questions posed and the subject brought to light, I wished it had a better resolve. It brought up someone afraid to announce their true sexuality and other great struggles teenagers have to endure, and I wish the conclusion included more of a peace and understanding. It did have some great, engaging quotes that relate to anyone going through turmoil in life like: “Bitterness can be corrosive. It can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean, until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.”
UPDATE: I had no idea there was a sequel and my followers on Instagram were offended that I dare give a three star review to a book that was their favorite of 2017. I will be reading Us Against You and my only qualm with this book feeling unfinished will most probably be solved.