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448 pages, Hardcover
First published August 21, 2017
What does it take to be a good parent? Not much. Just everything. Absolutely everything.
“Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. We’ll end up saying that violence came to Beartown this summer, but that will be a lie; the violence was already here. Because sometimes hating one another is so easy that it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.”
“The truth about most people is as simple as it is unbearable: we rarely want what is best for everyone; we mostly want what’s best for ourselves.”
“People driving through say that Beartown doesn’t live for anything but hockey, and some days they may be right. Sometimes people have to be allowed to have something to live for in order to survive everything else.”
“Unfortunately, that isn’t what we’re going to remember in a few years’ time. Many of us will just look back on these months and remember … the hatred. Because that’s how we function, for better or worse: we always define different periods by their worst moments. So we will remember two towns’ loathing for each other. We will remember the violence, because it’s only just started. Of course we won’t talk about it; we don’t do that here. We’ll talk about hockey games that were played instead, so that we don’t have to talk about the funerals that took place between them.”
“Violence is the easiest and the hardest thing in the world to understand. Some of us are prepared to use it to get power, others only in self-defense, some all the time, others not at all. But then there’s another type, unlike all the others, who seems to fight entirely without purpose. Ask anyone who has looked into a pair of those eyes when they turn dark, and you’ll realize that we belong to different species. No one can really know if those people lack something that other people possess or if it’s the other way around. If something goes out inside them when they clench their fists or if something switches on.”
“It’s always the aggressors’ feelings we have to defend. As if they’re the ones who need our understanding.”
“Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. Because sometimes it’s so easy to make people hate one another that it feels incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.”
“But children are the only people who don’t have to take responsibility for anyone but themselves. The rest of us have to take responsibility for the things we cause to happen. You’re a leader. People follow you. So frankly, if you can’t take responsibility for the actions of your followers, that makes you nothing but a monster.”
“In the end an eighteen-year-old man is left standing outside an ice rink thinking “Who can I be, if I’m not this?”
No hockey in BEARTOWN? It just can't be!
We all know hockey is an addiction in this small failing community....the only thing really, except for snow, icy roads and a thick (sometimes dangerous) forest where one can hide....or discover secrets. It's still a hard life hereabouts....harder for some after the scandal....it affected so many....some took their revenge....others are still hurting....and some so burned with hatred, they now turn to violence.
In the sequel, US AGAINST YOU Fredrik Backman delves way down deep into the soul of many a character here revealing shortcomings and attributes, hopes and dreams, loves and losses, and, of course, a relationship with a town in which they are so proud....a hockey town that must survive....no matter what!
Backman, with his gift of gab, entices and teases the reader most deceptively at every turn in this second offering bringing forth many oh no it can't be moments for the reader as he describes burning buildings, lurking men in black jackets, heated confrontations and trickery from politicians that weigh heavy on some.
US AGAINST YOU (for me) was not as emotionally addictive as BEARTOWN. It was written in sort of a disjointed open-ended vein that often left me wanting to know now what was about to erupt. I also wanted to know exactly what happened to one character who left early on and another who takes off in the end....but perhaps that is a story for another time.
A great story....Yep! A worthwhile read....Absolutely! US AGAINST YOU has only left me wanting more Backman.
So..........do come back to BEARTOWN and visit your favorite characters (oh Benji)....see what some of them do (oh my) and how the new ones fit in (ha!) as BEARTOWN struggles for survival.
Many Thanks to Atria Books/Simon & Schuster for the widget and early reading opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite authors via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.