The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove tells a poignant story of a hockey town paralyzed by scandal. Jobs are disappearing and Beartown is slowly dying, so for its citizens, hockey is everything. Backman asks, “Why does everyone care about hockey? Because hockey tells stories.” This is the story not just of hockey, but of a 15-year-old named Maya Andersson, whose father, Peter, the general manager of the hockey club, loves hockey, but loves his family more. Seventeen-year-old Kevin Erdahl is the star of Beartown, with a chance to go professional. One night, after a huge win, Maya goes to a raucous party at Kevin’s house and is thrilled at his attention, but things get out of hand, and what takes place changes Beartown forever. Lest readers think hockey is the star here, it’s Backman’s rich characters that steal the show, and his deft handling of tragedy and its effects on an insular town. While the story is dark at times, love, sacrifice, and the bonds of friendship and family shine through, ultimately offering hope and even redemption. Backman veers close to the saccharine, but readers may be too spellbound to notice.
This is another instant classic! While it is great for sports fans alike, this book has so much more going on that you’ll be glued from page one. Even though hockey appears the premise of the story, it is just the background noise that keeps the book and its characters moving forward. These characters are so true to life they fit any culture or country. You hate the villains, adore the heroes/heroines. But then as these characters are so complex, you come to realize maybe the villains aren’t that villainous, and the heroes not always so heroic. This is the type of book which often has phrases you have to think over, put the book down, then run and read them to your best friend so you can agree together, “that is so true!” I just wish I could read it again as a first time read. The best!
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