Beartown (The Scandal) by Fredrik Backman

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★★★★★

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: 25th April 2017

Pages: 432

Genre: Drama/Literary Fiction

Buy: Amazon

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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. -GR

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I was given an e-copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warnings: abuse, sexual assault, racism, homophobia.

This book was unbelievable.

Backman’s writing is purely stunning. It felt very prologue-y. By that, I mean it had that very beautiful, almost detached omniscience seen mostly in book prologues but in Beartown, it was carried through the entire book. While it made it very breathtaking, sometimes I really just needed to actually, you know… breathe from it. This meant it took a lot longer for me to read this than it usually would for a 400 page book.

However, I don’t think taking your time with this one is a bad idea. As you can see from the trigger warnings, this book packs so much into its pages. From poverty and the politics of small town life, to rape culture and racism, this book covered so many issues. While heavy, I just think it was so important and beneficial to me to read. Though I don’t live somewhere like Beartown, I could relate with a lot of the characters, and see others in the people in my life. They were all so real, which made it all the more immersive.

The characters weren’t the only immersive aspect of the book. The setting itself of Beartown was just perfect. It almost seemed like a character itself. It has to be one of the most fleshed out, real locations of a non-fantasy book I’ve ever read. There was no need for a map or illustrations; the descriptions were just that good. It wasn’t done in an info-dumpy way either. The details were scattered throughout the entire book until I had such a vivid image and feel of the place. It had its own emotions and atmosphere.

I hope one day my writing can be as good as Fredrik Backman. For now, I’ll just content myself with reading every book he’s ever published.


Have you read Beartown? Leave a comment and we can discuss!

Until the next time, lovelies,

Abby.

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