I spent the last two weeks helping my mom recover from some surgery complications. If you’ve ever spent time sitting bedside, wishing someone you love back to good health, you can empathize with my need to periodically escape with a good book. Beartown: A Novel, by Fredrik Backman, provided exactly the diversion I needed.
The book has been on my 2 B or Not 2 B Reads list for quite some time, so when I saw it on the library shelf I felt like I had just won the book lottery. I got home only to find I needed to get to my mom’s side as quickly as possible. I threw some clothes and Beartown into my luggage, hoped a plane, and two nights later finally found time to start the first chapter, which consisted of two succinct sentences. “Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead, and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.” I was instantly transported, and hooked.
This is the second book by Mr. Backman that I have read and thoroughly enjoyed (read my thoughts on the first, A Man Called Ove, here). He has a talent for creating fully realized, believable, and relatable characters. In Beartown, Backman has fashioned an entire town of characters whose intermingling backstories and current relationships play out against the pursuit of a national hockey championship and a tragic crime that impacts every character along the way.
This book is sure to make my ‘Best Books of 2017’ list, and I am guessing it will make many other ‘best of’ lists too. Have you read Bear Town? Did you like it? Will it make your best of list? I’d love to know… .