“Hockey is never satisfied being part of your life, it wants to be all of it.”
A small town is kept from fading into oblivion by hockey. The jobs are leaving, the talent is leaving, but there’s a youth hockey team heading to the semifinals and if they win, maybe, just maybe, things will turn around. Beartown puts an immense amount of pressure on the teenage boys that their hopes depend on – too much for some. One player commits an act of violence and the town draws a line with everyone choosing a side.
I chose Beartown by Fredrik Backman as the Online Book Club book for July. I had loved his book A Man Called Ove and wanted to read another one of his books. The reviews said Beartown was different than his other books, so I chose it. It was much deeper and darker than A Man Called Ove, but the characters come alive quickly in both books. I still plan to read some of his other novels.
Maya, the daughter of the hockey general manager, has her eye on the star hockey player, Kevin, whose parents let him have run of his life. At a party one night at Kevin’s house when his parents are gone, with drinking and weed smoking, things get out of control and Kevin rapes Maya. She doesn’t report it at first, but then sees other little girls playing and doesn’t want them to ever suffer like she is in silence. However, she reports it the day the hockey team is boarding the bus to go to the finals and Kevin is arrested before they leave. The team loses and the blame is placed squarely on Maya’s shoulders instead of Kevin’s. The town must find a way forward or fall apart.
Beartown was a book I won’t soon forget. Even though the topic was dark, it was written in a captivating way. It would be a really good book club book – I definitely wanted to talk to someone about what I read when I finished the book. It is for adults as it deals with very tough topics.