Camino Island

Bear Town

by Fredrik Backman

Overview: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.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Faith Bowers (07/25/17): This is the fourth novel I have read by Bachman and I think it his best. His writing does improve with experience. I am not a sports person and this is about a hockey team in a small town in the middle of the woods and what it takes to make a town and a sport club much like Friday Night Lights.

You are introduced to the characters slowly so you can keep track of them all. The story moves, the tension is palatable with each chapter with one climax after another. The characters are not kooky as in his other books therefore there is less humor. You like almost all the characters, even the obvious antagonist. The novel is about good parenting and bad parenting, friendships built and friendships broken, about love lost and strengthened. There are many questions and answers for a good discussion at a book club and the story will stay with you. It is 400 pages but the time goes fast.
Rating: ****

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