Fredrik Backman, in the space of just two books quickly shot up to become one of my favourite authors. A Man Called Ove and Anxious People were two books that I rated incredibly highly as both offered such a fantastic balance of humour and seriousness in such a unique way. Backman’s intelligent writing allows him to cover some very serious topics in a well-written and simple way. Beartown has received a lot of positive praise from people and so with my positive thoughts on his previous books and the praise from others, I went into Beartown incredibly optimistic.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase any products via the links below, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These affiliate links do not affect my final opinion of the product.
Beartown tells the story of a town where everything focuses on the ice hockey team, specifically the people who run it, the young adults and children who play in it and their parents. It’s a very unique concept but one which, with some sublime writing, Backman makes you incredibly interested and enveloped in. There is betrayal, loyalty, changes in relationships and some dark topics covered but it is all woven together so wonderfully.
Beartown plot – 4.5/5
For a long time, you’re not really sure where Beartown is going. Backman writes about the town, introduces you to the characters, builds their personalities, what others think of them, how the dynamics of the town work and more and then suddenly – bam – you’re hit with a big plot moment that changes all thoughts and dynamics he’s previously built up.
Like many of Backman’s books, he loves to spend the first half of the book or make you fall in love/learn to hate certain characters, he builds them up and has them become these real-life people. Beartown‘s big plot moment really changes the whole dynamic of the story from this quaint little town where some people have a problem with everybody’s focus being on the success of this local ice hockey team to being all about one boy and one girl and what they’ve done and how it seems to affect almost everybody in the town.
Backman once again has written a fantastic here that isn’t going to include some large spectacles but is going to include some incredibly intelligent writing that had me rereading passages to my partner just so I could deeper appreciate how he’d cleverly woven the telling of the story together.
Beartown characters – 4.75/5
Fredrik Backman, in both of the previous two books I’ve read of his Anxious People and A Man Called Ove has written characters who you feel are both believable and loveable. Beartown‘s characters are definitely believable but very few of them are loveable. Unlike these previous two novels, this isn’t a positive story about optimism and finding the light in life – it’s a dark tale that covers some dark topics and shows some of the worst in humanity.
However, this does not take away from the fact that once again due to Backman’s amazing ability to build depth into different characters, you’ll find yourself being fully invested in the journeys of so many characters in this book. I’m not sure the last time I read a book with such a vast number of characters and was so easily able to know who each was so early on. They are all so different and so well-developed that you’ll have no problem following each character’s storyline.
The characters in Beartown will have you loving them one minute, hating them the next and thinking you’ve got some figured out only for you to be blown away by how different they really are the next. Backman is one of the greatest writers of characters alive today, without any doubt.
Beartown final rating – 4.5/5
Fredrik Backman has done it again with Beartown. He’s written a fairly odd book about a very unique situation and has dragged me deep into investing in the characters and flipping the pages at a rate of knots to see what’s going to happen next. As with all of Backman’s books, Beartown starts a little slow as Backman builds depth to all of the characters but halfway you’ll be shocked, pulled in and won’t come back up for breath again until the very last page. Beartown continues my love for Fredrik Backman and my insistence that he is one author who everybody should read.
If you liked my review of Beartown, you’ll likely enjoy my reviews of the following books: