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.
Kindle Edition, 432 pagesPublished April 25th 2017 by Atria Books
Beartown was my first ever audiobook so I wasn't sure how I would feel about it. As an avid reader I wasn't sure how I would feel about someone elses voice deliver the story. However, I had suffered a severe concussion and regular reading was not an option so in order for me to get my reading fix I had to turn to an audiobook. I didn't want to pick just any book to listen to. First of all, they are extremely expensive and because I was going through reading withdrawls I wanted something that I could almost be guaranteed to love. I looked at different lists of top books of 2017 and ended up with Beartown. I passed on the opportunity to read an ARC earlier in the year so I thought it was time to give it a go.
This book was about a small town in the middle of nowhere that had nothing going for it. There was no tourism or industry to think of. The only thing it had was its junior boys hockey team. With the possibility of them winning the season came the possibility of putting them on the map and bringing some life back to the dying town. Everyone's hopes and dreams were sitting squarely on those teenage boys shoulders. They understood the magnitude of what they needed to do and the privilege that came with it. They were the stars of the town. When the unthinkable happened involving one of the players it tore the town apart. Sides were taken, accusations were flung and lives changed forever.
Beartown was an absolutely stunning story in my opinion. It was very character driven which I don't always like but it worked wonderfully in this story. Coming from a small town where most people play hockey it was easy to visualise and even easier to relate. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the voices of all the different characters and getting inside their heads. It showcased how one persons actions can impact so many different people in different ways and the chaos it can create.
I loved every minute of this book. A truly wonderful story and a great first audiobook!