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January 3, 2023


#NordicFINDS23 Beartown (Sweden)

by NancyElin



Beartown (Beartown, #1) by Fredrik Backman by Fredrik Backman Fredrik Backman

Genre: novel
Rating: A
Review: Beartown (ISBN: 9781405937733)

Good news: Hook is good! Chapter 1 is just 2 sentences…but, boy this reader is hooked! Former NHL-player (…and his family) comes back to his old home town in the north of Sweden and makes an immediate impact on former friends and enemies. And there is this feeling of something bad and disturbing lurking around the corner…


Good news: Good adult themes but when the chapters revolve around the younger generation (brothers, sisters and hockey players) it has a definite YA feel about it. There is plenty of conflict (rival hockey players…rival boyfriends) and adults confronted with their glory days playing hockey compared to the present. One is in a boring job (Peter)…one has become an alcoholic (Robbie) and we watch it all through the eyes of an ageing coach(Sune) who trained both boys to become star players.


Bad news: Too many subplots…they just keep on coming!   ..there are more!
The big game…must win to get sponsors money.
Rival coaches (Peter and David for the A-Team)
Old coach must leave..moved into retirement (Sune)
Complicated marriage (Peter and Kira)
Grief (P&K) for death of firstborn child
BFF – Maya and Ana undying friendship
BMF – Kevin and Benji undying friendship
Star hockey player removed from the team. Town is in uproar !


Bad news: This book (ch 1-29) felt like it was written purposely for  a contract for an HBO or NETFLIX series…a real YA – SOAP OPERA boilerplate.  And the one thing that is holding this story together is THE BIG GAME. You lose a game during the competition…but you don’t have to be a genius to know the Beartown Boys will win the finale.


Good news: Fredrick Bachman uses parallel groups (men/boys) who seek the most physical and strongest sensations (playing hockey) to avoid dealing with their feelings.
Old “hockey” friends” (Peter, David, Robbie, Tails)
Young “hockey friends”…still teens (Lyt, Benji, Kevin, Bobo)


Personal: Now, this book was one of the biggest surprises for me. I was definitely going to stop reading after 50%…I could not bear any more YA-angst. But suddenly Fredrik Backman creates the turning point (ch 30)…then the book just soared! Themes of loneliness, community, leadership and a quest for revenge. I was glued to the last chapters. This book just proves the point…don’t give up on a book too soon!

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. What an interesting review! A book of two halves it seems… I gather this is the third book in a trilogy set in and around the town. Do you need to read the first two to meet characters and get their backstories?

    • Jan 3 2023

      Thanks for you comment!
      This is the FIRST (2016) of the trilogy…so best place to start!
      #2 is 2017 and #3 is 2021.

      • That’s good to know. I’ve not read any of his books, maybe I should start out with A Man Called Ove which I do own a copy of.

  2. tracybham
    Jan 3 2023

    I am glad to hear you liked this book, and that it was worth sticking to it until the end. I will see if it shows up at the book sale this yead. I do have A Man Called Ove on my shelves, just bought it recently, and wasn’t sure I would like it.

    • Jan 4 2023

      Oh, I’ve only seen the movie (the Swedish original, not the one with Tom Hanks) A Man Called Ove…and I loved it. It is well worth watching if you don’t have time for the book.

  3. Jan 3 2023

    Fredrik Backman is a very popular author at work with my customers, but I haven’t read any. Sounds like I’ve been missing out on something!

    • Jan 4 2023

      The man is a hidden gem….way up north in Scandinavia!


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