Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars
Main takeaways: An emotionally-investing book that validates your feminist loathing on machismo and so much more. MUST. READ.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman is an intricate and incisive novel. Set in a small town in Sweden where every matter is wrapped up irrevocably in the town’s hockey league, the Bears are about to play in the semifinals. Winning the semifinals would mean everything to Beartown – new businesses, new inhabitants, expansion, money, prosperity. The town has placed its future in the hands of immature, rude, egotistical seventeen-year-old boys. But in the wake of tragedy, everything changes. Battles lines are drawn, dividing this town further than it already was, and the fate of the Beartown Bears hangs by a thread.
This book was tough. Real tough. There were times I had to put this book down and walk away from it and cry because the reality and vulnerability of this book and its characters made me feel my own reality and vulnerability. Beartown said everything I’ve wanted a book to say for so long. Rape culture, “locker room talk,” cultures of silence, slut-shaming, prejudice, class divides, I could go on and on about the truths Backman laid out on the table for society. In the end, this book made me feel and made me think. It broke my heart again and again and it mended it as well. It gave me hope that things can change.
“This town doesn’t always know the difference between right and wrong, but we know the difference between good and evil.”
A lot of people say Beartown is about a small town. A lot of people say it’s about a hockey team. But the small town, the hockey team just provide the reader with a relatable context. Beartown is about what it means to be a friend. It’s about what it means to be a family. It’s about what it means to be brave, to stand up and dissent, to do the right thing when everyone around you wants you to do the wrong thing, to shout against the masses that they don’t own you and will never scare you. Beartown is about sticking by the people you care about.