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Beartown: Fredrick Backmann

“It’s never your fault, is it? When are you going to admit that it isn’t ‘hockey’ that raises these boys, it’s YOU LOT? In every time and every place, I’ve come across men who blame their own stupidity on crap they themselves have invented. ‘Religion causes wars,’ ‘guns kill people,’ it’s all the same old bullshit! […] YOU’RE the problem! Religion doesn’t fight, guns don’t kill, and you need to be very fucking clear that hockey has never raped anyone! But do you know who do? Fight and kill and rape?”

Plot Overview

Beartown is a small secluded town that is almost on its extinct. But the people of Beartown have their last hopes on the junior hockey team, which is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. This is a story of what happens when you burden teenagers with so many responsibilities. And if something bad happens that can take away the hopes of Beartown, whom the town will support? Will it support the victim or will they turn off their moral compass?

My Reading Experience

A Man called Ove was my first book by Fredrick Backman and without any doubt one of the best books I have ever read. So with the next book which is also very well-loved, I was completely ready to join the Backman Fanclub. But this book has fallen a little short on my expectations.

I know I am among the outliers when I say that I didn’t love this book as much. But I am not saying it is a bad book. I loved the writing style, the compassionate tone of the writer while dealing with such sensitive issues. He was successful in bringing out the emotions of each and every character. I loved how each and every character in the book has given its own space. The book has so many good things. But I guess the internet is filled with such reviews. Let me bring attention to the point which I don’t see anyone talking about.

The first thing that put me off from this book is the predictive storyline. I mean if you have watched or read 13 Reasons Why then you will find nothing new in the storyline. It’s the same story(minus suicide) told in a different way. I mean I was literally able to map characters and that is no fun when you are reading a new book. By the way, I checked 13 Reasons Why is published before this book.

The next thing which I didn’t like is the masochistic tone of this book. I somehow feel that such kind of writing or story comes with an instant bestseller formula and hence the books or even such movies always get so popular.

Having said that when I pick up contemporary fiction, I want to read a story that feels real. But to me, the plot was a little too fictitious. I somehow felt that the author is trying to fit in every social issue in this story, e.g., a sexist town, teenage issues, populistic culture, homophobia, suicidal tendencies, parenting fears and losses, socio-economic divisions and so many other things. I loved A Man called Ove because it has touched upon so many topics without going over the top.

I was angry throughout the second half of the book, but then I wondered that why I am being so angry. And I realized that even though the story seemed fictitious as a whole, but the topics as a standalone are very real. And the author has done an amazing job in bringing out that to the readers.


So, as I mentioned above even though I didn’t fell in love with the book as much as I did with ‘A Man Called Ove’, but I still liked it enough.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Published inBooksFiction

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