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Britt-Marie Was Here
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Archive: Other Books > Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman - 4 stars

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Ellen | 2048 comments Britt-Marie has always felt that her presence in this life really doesn't matter to anyone. She grew up in the shadow of her favored older sister, married a man who possible only wanted someone to raise his two children, and finally was cheated on by this same husband. Now in her 60's, Britt-Marie finds herself on her own and needing a job. She is sent to the tiny town of Borg which is in its final death throes of existence. Businesses have closed down and those who have been able to sell their homes have already left. Britt-Marie is to be the director of the recreation center until it too closes its doors in three weeks. One thing Britt-Marie excels at is cleaning - obsessive cleaning. Within hours she has the rec center sparkling. Unfortunately for Britt-Marie, there is a small group of very dirty children playing soccer outside who bring their very dirty shoes and clothing into her clean building. Her solution is to give them some discarded uniforms she has found while she washes and dries their clothes. When the children tell her that the rec center director is meant to be their soccer coach she is shocked. Not only does she loathe soccer she knows nothing about it. How will this prim and proper woman, who cringes at the sight of a dirty soccer ball, and this group of rag-tag children become a team?

No one does quirky better than Fredrik Backman and this book is full to overflowing with some of his oddest characters yet. Besides Britt-Marie herself, there is "Bank" - a visually impaired woman with a dog who she has trained to pee on command, Sven - the overweight policeman who has "taken a class" in just about anything Britt-Marie mentions, "Somebody" - the wheelchair bound owner of the pizzeria-grocery-auto repair-post office, and the children of the Borg soccer team themselves. Much like the title character in "A Man Called Ove", Britt-Marie has a brusque outer shell that protects a loving heart. She wants nothing more than to be noticed and that people will know that Britt-Marie was here. Once again, Backman has written a sweet story with a likeable protagonist although, at times, the quirky gets a bit overwhelming.

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments I am totally putting this on hold at my library on audio. I think it sounds really cute.

Two questions:

1. Will I cry as much as I did at Ove?
2. Did you read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry? How do you rate the three of them compared to each other?

message 3: by Ladyslott (last edited Jun 09, 2016 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ladyslott | 1880 comments Nicole wrote: "Two questions:

1. Will I cry as much as I did at Ove?
2. Did you read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You..."

I loved Ove, didn't care for My Grandmother and am just starting Britt Marie. My two cents

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7644 comments Linda S wrote: " I loved Ove, didn't care for My Grandmother and am just starting Britt Marie. My two cents ..."

I remember that you were not a huge fan of My Grandmother and it seems like several others were not as well. I will look for your review of Britt Marie.

Jgrace | 2709 comments Great review, thanks.
I liked Ove and didn't read the next one. I'm also waiting for Linda's two cents. (I actually place much greater value than that on her reviews.)

Ellen | 2048 comments I loved "Ove" and was not quite so enamored of "My Grandmother". I think Britt-marie would be my second favorite of the three.
Nicole, I don't think this one will make you cry. I felt a few tugs at the heart-strings because of certain backstories but it is actually a feel-good (mostly) story.

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