Beartown – Fredrik Backman

****Spoiler Alert****
Trigger warning: rape, misogyny, homophobia, abuse.

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.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

My Thoughts:
This book definitely didn’t go the way I thought it would, but I found it really realistic.

We follow a few people in a small town in the woods. Beartown is a hockey town and everyone knows how important hockey is for the town, if their junior team wins the final then a lot of money will be pouring into this little town. But, on the morning of the final, the star player (Kevin) gets pulled off the bus by police officers on allegations of rape.

Fredrik Backman has a very specific way of writing and I have never seen writing like it before and I loved it. He also took a very serious issue, and in my opinion, he handled it very well. He really challenges ‘locker room’ talk and shows the negativity of it, which to me is really important but especially for a man to tackle.

I think Benji was my favourite character, he never joined in with the locker room jokes and he knew what Kevin did and despite being best friends Benji didn’t back Kevin up. Benji was the first to step away from the team when everything happened, other players walked away as well but it took them longer to see the truth of things.

I felt so bad for Maya, that an awful thing happened to her and the majority of people didn’t believe her pretty much on principle because she’s a teenage girl. It really frustrated me because it’s so unfair. Plus the number of adult men who thought this was as well it’s so ridiculous!

This was definitely a tough book to get through but I really, really enjoyed it.

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