Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

I love Fredrik Backman and have read all of his novels, but I was a little slow to pick up Beartown. Reading the descriptive blurb on the back, I assumed I was in for a heartwarming hockey story a la The Mighty Ducks. (No hate–I loved those movies!) But Beartown is so much more than a sports novel.

Fredrik Backman has an amazing ability to explore very heavy topics without making the reader feel depressed when she closes the book. Backman’s first novel, A Man Called Ove, deals with suicide in a manner so gentle, sympathetic, and even humorous, that I found myself uplifted by the ending. The main conflict in Beartown centers around a rape. Though Backman doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the act or the horrors of the aftermath, the reader can only smile as the victim (and much of the community) rises in strength and determination from such devastation.

There is plenty of Backman’s trademark humor here, as well as some excellent character studies. But the author’s gentle touch with the most difficult of topics is what makes him a towering talent in literature today. If you aren’t reading Fredrik Backman, you are missing out.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BACKMAN)

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