Beartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If this review sounds like it was written by some octogenarian who sounds like he was forced to watch the latest Marvel movie and discovered that he liked it, THERE'S A REASON. ;)
My caveat: I am not a huge hockey fan. In fact, when it comes to most books or tv shows or movies related to any kind of sporty topic, I'm already rounding down or trying to find any kind of excuse to run away from it.
Why? I grew up with this s**te. I generally hated the hometown band-together-for-the-team mentality and privately called them all tribal yokels and worse. Let's have an institutionalized us-versus-them mentality, shall we? We can step up our witch hunts and hand out blinders to everyone equally.
So I read this book about a little hard-nosed hockey town because I was forced to. Truth. Someone held my head in position and kept poking me with a burning branch until I finished enough that I would have to do the rest on my own thanks to my OCD that comes with books. HAVE TO FINISH!
So yeah, I did, and you know what? I enjoyed myself.
The wide range of characters with all kinds of flaws butted heads against reality in all the worst ways. Good men and women did bad things and bad men and women did good things. There might have been some feels in here for me.
But more than anything, this is the kind of book that gives fans and non-fans and everyone who might have the slightest bit ambivalence about the crap that goes on in these kinds of insular communities a good long pause. You can say that shit happens, that rapes happen, that star players can and should get off free and clear.
Or, you can be on the shotgun's side.
I might be on the shotgun's side.
So, yeah, beautifully written, sprawling, a panoramic hoard of vivid characters, and a town torn apart. What's not to love? Issues of rape versus the "greater good" smothers these pages and *should* hit everyone in the gut. So yeah, this isn't just a hockey novel. I'll give it that.
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