Let’s talk about Beartown 👇🏼
Pub Date: 4.25.2017
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
“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.”
“The only thing the sport gives us are moments. But, what the hell is life apart from moments?”
Beartown- you either love it, or you don’t.
Up until recently, I was in the latter category. In 2020, I started the book and then quickly DNF. The hockey references were too much, and good grief, there were too many characters. But, after a classic case of FOMO, I decided to give the book another try this year, and now I’m officially in the category of ‘love it.’
I got over the hockey references fairly quickly this round and made a character cheat sheet that I referenced whenever I was confused. Creating the character key helped me better understand who was who and their relation to one another, allowing me to appreciate the story.
Let me be clear; this book is not as hockey centered as the first 50 pages lead me to believe. The heart of this story is about the decisions we make, the people we love, and the influences (good and bad) people can have on our lives.
Through Backman’s incredible writing and character development, I became attached to these fictional people and wanted nothing but the best for their lives. I was angry at the town for allowing the events to occur and for not standing up for one of their own.
Once the story’s turning point occurs, the book becomes impossible to put down.
💯 Character development
🏒 A hockey-obsessed town but not all about hockey
🗣 Third person omniscient narrator
❌ There are a lot of triggers throughout the novel – suicide, rape (graphic, imo), alcohol abuse, and victim blaming.
I recommend reading Beartown if you like a well-developed character story involving a sports team.
Format: 418 pages
Published: April 2017
ISBN 1501160761 (ISBN13: 9781501160769)