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Beartown (Beartown, #1)
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May 2018: Family Drama > Beartown by Fredrik Backman -- 3.5 stars

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Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Beartown by Fredrik Backman
3.5 stars (round down to 3)

Hmmm....I have been pondering what to say in this review all day. On the one hand, Backman once again draws us into his story and characters with his compelling writing. On the other hand, the topic was so much more disturbing than I thought it would be! He moved from the feel-good stories of Ove and Britt-Marie, which has seriousness mixed in with light-hearted fun, and into this story that was downright depressing. And I don't mind depressing stories, but I wasn't expecting it.

So, major spoiler, but many people have read this so I hope they read ahead. (view spoiler)

And the characters were compelling. Some lacked depth (Kevin was a stereotype through and through) but others had depth and were conflicted and we found out more about them with each chapter. In fact, I thought the two main characters (I guess they were the main ones) Kevin and Maya were the least compelling characters. Kevin was such a cliche it hurt, and I cringed that Maya became the one who consoled everyone around her like that was her job. But those other characters were great. I totally want more about Benji.

So, ultimately, I guess it was a good book? It was a hard book to read. It was not really what I signed up for when I grabbed Backman off the shelf. But it made me think and made me angry. So, that is something.


message 2: by Karin (last edited May 15, 2018 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karin | 7473 comments I had no idea what the central part of this story was, either! While I saw some of the same weaknesses as you, I read this at a time when I liked it better than you did. (view spoiler)


Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I didn't even mention that some of his writing "hooks" also annoyed me. He started with repeating the "bang. bang. bang." but then toward the end he moved to this writing hook where he would start two characters doing similar things (like they both walked up to a house and rang the doorbell) but then he would just tell you about one of them. It was clever but he used it too much.

Then, he shifted to this "10 years later" thing where he kind of told you about the future of the primary characters in an almost flash forward kind of way. Again, the technique itself didn't both me, it was the repetition of it.

And, it was the bouncing around between hooks.


message 4: by Nicole R (last edited May 15, 2018 02:30PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Karin wrote: "I had no idea what the central part of this story was, either! While I saw some of the same weaknesses as you, I read this at a time when I liked it better than you did."

I just really struggle with reading about this topic. It is my personal issue and I realize there are good books out there on the topic (I certainly think that Backman made excellent points) but I just don't want to read about it in my spare time. Especially when I am expecting something else.


Karin | 7473 comments Nicole R wrote: "Karin wrote: "I had no idea what the central part of this story was, either! While I saw some of the same weaknesses as you, I read this at a time when I liked it better than you did."

I just real..."


I agree, and normally avoid this topic as well!


Rachel N. | 1614 comments I don't think I knew what the book was mainly about before I read it but I was also surprised at how dark this book is compared to Backman's other books. It's also a topic I normally avoid reading about mainly but I do feel Backman is unfortunately correct in how people deal with it in our society which infuriates me. This book mainly made me angry too.


annapi | 5159 comments I didn't know what it was about either, but it didn't take me aback when I got there. I thought the book was brilliantly executed. The beginning already gives you a warning that the subject will be a dark one.


Susie | 4488 comments Despite it being completely different from his other books, I loved it. I did find it slow to get started, but it was worth it for me.


Ladyslott | 1880 comments Nicole R wrote: "Beartown by Fredrik Backman
3.5 stars (round down to 3)

Hmmm....I have been pondering what to say in this review all day. On the one hand, Backman once again draws..."


I liked this book more than you and I think part of it was that it was a major departure from his usually 'feel good' books. I liked the way he handled the incident that propels the book. I rated it 5 stars because I thought it was realistic in that aspect.


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