Review: Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Where is the heart of a small town? In Beartown, it is the junior ice hockey team. Preparing to compete in the quickly-approaching national semifinals, they may actually have a shot at winning for the first time in decades. 

Even Beartown’s oldest residents see the forest encroaching upon the town, threatening to swallow them up altogether. All that remains is an ice rink built generations ago by the working class founders of the town. That ice rink is Beartown’s last hope to go out with a flash instead of a whisper. The hopes of an entire town rest on the shoulders of a few teenage boys. When one cracks under the pressure, accusations fly through all of Beartown, leaving no one unaffected.

Beartown is a village with a near-unthinkable dream. Backman writes a profound, dazzling novel from the perspective of the whole town, leaving no story untold. He gives a raw account of the price Beartown must pay to make their dreams come true. The novel explores what keeps a small community together, how secrets can tear it to shreds, and the courage required for someone to go against the grain in such a small town. 

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