Play Book Tag discussion

34 views
2016-19 Activities & Challenges > Buddy Read for Beartown - September Trim #3

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Many of us are reading Beartown for our September trim. Let us know if you're in and when you plan to read the book.

Please feel free to make comments while you're reading if that's your preference. If you're speaking about chapters beyond chapter 11, please use a spoiler cover.

Who's in?

When?

First impressions?


message 2: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 02, 2019 10:27AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments What do you think of the first line?

Is that what they call a hook?


message 3: by MargieD2017 (new)

MargieD2017 | 263 comments I am in and have started reading the book. I didn't get far given the busy days so far but I am only on chapter 8.

That first line caught me off guard. I knew this book was about a hockey team but wasn't expecting a murder too! Builds a pretty intense under current!


message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I have read the book previously bu am excited to join in the conversation.

Yes that first sentence is a hook. How can you read that sentence and not continue further.


message 5: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments I'm still waiting for it from the library!


message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments My son is going to read it again!


message 7: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments This book also fits into the Me Too movement, but we barely get a hint of that before the middle of the book. I'm thinking, now the book is getting more interesting.

So far this book is bringing back a lot of memories of my Hockey Mom years. My kids played with both school teams and town teams, but the stakes were never as high as they are in this book.

I really appreciate some of the details about David's and Sune's thoughts about coaching. My kids had a lot of different coaches over the years and I never really knew about their strategies. The parents mostly noticed if a coach played only the best kids (to win), or if he made sure to give every kid time on the ice. Some parents could get really loud and aggressive.

Old joke:
"Did you hear about what happened at the fight last night? A hockey game broke out."


message 8: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Jason wrote: "I have read the book previously bu am excited to join in the conversation.

Yes that first sentence is a hook. How can you read that sentence and not continue further."


Absolutely. It's making me pay a lot more attention to each kid's thoughts and emotions. I really hope Benjy isn't one of the kids involved. So far, he's one of my favorite characters. I have one obvious guess for which kid gets shot, but it's early yet.


message 9: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments I've got my copy, but haven't started yet!


message 10: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments This book is so much better than I thought. At first, it was just kids playing hockey. Now, I'm past the halfway point and I'm realizing how many interesting and well drawn characters there are in this book. The author must have incredible powers of observation and understanding. He manages to give nearly every character (even minor ones) some interesting nuances - actions, insights, thoughts, etc. - that convey something unique or meaningful. Even some of the kids who appear to be stereotypical stock characters - bullies, mean girls, jocks, nerds - eventually become more interesting and memorable.

The same thing goes for relationships. I really love the friendships (especially Maya and Ana), budding friendships, and parent/child relationships. For a book about kids playing hockey, there is an amazing and subtle diversity among the mothers, and the things they do to influence their kids. I like reading about the awkwardness, the small tender moments, the failures to connect, the persistence, and the ironies.

One mother is noticing small details that make her suspect that her teenage son could have raped a girl. I would have found that devastating. I put a lot of effort into having very frank discussions with my boys about sex, respect, and consent. I told them that taking advantage of a drunk girl is rape, because she can't give consent if she can't think straight.

I'm finding so many quotes now, I need to take a break from the hardcover book and get the kindle out to highlight favorite passages.


message 11: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Backman is my favorite author.


message 12: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments I can see why now. I loved A Man Called Ove, so I shouldn't have waited so long to read his other books. I won't wait long to read the sequel of Beartown.


message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments They both arrived in the mail. I can’t wait for my oldest to restart this book and read it for real, and for my middle to get there. I so loved these and I’m thrilled to own a copy. I also felt the purity of the 15 year old friendships were amazing! And of course what went so much deeper than hockey.


message 14: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte | 1596 comments I'm in and have started it. I'm on Chapter 10 so far but hope to get a lot read or finish it this weekend.


message 15: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Culture Notes - May include SPOILERS

The book talks about culture in many ways. There is the (espoused) culture of the hockey club, proclaimed on banners, along with community and values. There are also references to the culture of winning, the culture of silence.

He can’t take his eyes off the worn old banner hanging above his head: “Culture, Values, Community.”

David asked about the banner, asked what it meant to Sune, and Sune replied: “Community is the fact that we work toward the same goal, that we accept our respective roles in order to reach it. Values is the fact that we trust each other. That we love each other.” David thought about that for a long while before asking: “What about culture, then?” Sune looked more serious, choosing his words carefully. In the end he said: “For me, culture is as much about what we encourage as what we actually permit.”


I like that last line. It's so true. I see this a lot in organizational culture. It's easy for a company to weaken it's culture simply by ignoring violations of the groups values and norms. Thus giving tacit permission.

The book gradually reveals a dark side to the culture of the town and the hockey club. Both the "pack" of men in the town, and the council of donors who paid for it, believe that they own and control it.

"Peter has spent more time than any other coach trying to reduce the Pack’s violence in the stands, as well as their menacing hold over the town, and that’s made him a hated figure in the Bearskin, but sometimes even he has trouble working out who the worst hooligans in the Beartown Ice Hockey Club are: the ones with tattoos on their necks, or the ones with neckties."


message 16: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments At this rate it looks like I'm going to miss out on the Buddy Read part since my book isn't available yet! Ah well, stuff happens.


message 17: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments NancyJ wrote: "Culture Notes - May include SPOILERS

The book talks about culture in many ways. There is the (espoused) culture of the hockey club, proclaimed on banners, along with community and values. There ar..."


I love your observations and the quotes you picked out. I have just started saving quotes I like, so I didn't save any from Beartown and I really regret it.

(view spoiler)


message 18: by annapi (last edited Sep 08, 2019 06:18PM) (new)

annapi | 5068 comments Barbara wrote: "At this rate it looks like I'm going to miss out on the Buddy Read part since my book isn't available yet! Ah well, stuff happens."

Barbara, I have an ecopy of Beartown I can email you if you want - just PM me your email address and what format (Kindle or epub).


message 19: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Jason wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Culture Notes - May include SPOILERS

The book talks about culture in many ways. There is the (espoused) culture of the hockey club, proclaimed on banners, along with community and v..."


Thanks Jason. I liked the book so I requested the kindle from the library too. I don't like reading a book electronically, but I love being able to search and highlight interesting lines (and save them on my goodreads acct).

Did you read the sequel yet?


message 20: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments Adored the sequel!


message 21: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments NancyJ wrote: "Jason wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Culture Notes - May include SPOILERS

The book talks about culture in many ways. There is the (espoused) culture of the hockey club, proclaimed on banners, along with c..."


Yes, I have read Us Against You and it is as good as Beartown. It is amazing to see the aftermath of everything that happens in Beartown.


message 22: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments I love that you’re right at the end of a beloved book, and then the next one picks up exactly where the previous one left off. Like it was never really over. It just went on.


message 23: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments So here is a question to really get a discussion going. What attributes most to Kevin raping. His parents, being the star, sports mentality where you are taught to take what you want and win at all cost, alcohol, never being rejected? A combination? Is it a predisposition?


message 24: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments Such an interesting question Jason! I immediately had the cop out thought about male generation and how our culture has allowed and excused. But that doesn’t ultimately hold up and it’s not enough. I do think the parents and the town’s reaction reinforces that. I was just talking with my husband about how much respect I have had for Felicity Huffman and her personal accountability since Day One of the College Admissions Scandal. To date, she is the only one who owned it up front. And took full accountability.

About Kevin though, I’m not going with alcohol. Superstar status maybe, combined with male culture. Maybe he wanted to believe it was something other than rape. But ultimately this is about perception of women. Who in the book are actually quite strong, but the men fail to see it until much farther along. We the readers, and given our own lenses, see the strength of the women. But the men are hopelessly unaware, until far later of their power. And in a small town where hockey is Paramount, I can understand that women or virtually anything else becomes secondary. It’s in part cultural education and exposure perhaps. Mixed with personality, an aggressive sport, star pressure, and a tinge if alcohol. But for some men. None of those pressures and factors, even combined would come to that outcome. So, genetics? Is that an easy excuse? Or do we own it’s likely role? Can’t wait to hear others thoughts on this.


message 25: by MargieD2017 (new)

MargieD2017 | 263 comments I have not completed the book but I noticed in the book on this subject that Bobo stated that the girls at the party were there purposefully for the players to take advantage of. That encounters were expected by both sexes and that it would be discussed and rated after the fact. It would seem that the whole town turned a blind eye to the alcohol and drug use of the team players during the season and most assuredly at the victory party. There would appear to be no boundary to their conduct or no consequence for their actions. Since these are junior players one would have to point to the culture of the town. So, while the culture was encouraging outrageous behavior was it condoning violence? I think that Kevin felt entitled to anything he wanted and therefore took it when it wasn't being given. I don't think that this is alcohol or the town's culture (though this certainly didn't help) as much as a belief that he is above examination. All players are beneath him and should bow to his every need. Why would this not extend to the girls as well?


message 26: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments MargieD2017 wrote: "I have not completed the book but I noticed in the book on this subject that Bobo stated that the girls at the party were there purposefully for the players to take advantage of. That encounters we..."

Margie, it has been a while since I read the book and didn't remember this detail. Thank-you for sharing.


message 27: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments I strongly believe that competitive sports engenders a rape culture unintentionally. Rape is way to common when it comes to athletes. I am not condemning all athletes or even competitive sports. Just the culture it creates if there are not counterbalances to the atmosphere.

Sports teach many valuable lessons that apply to multiple aspects of life and succeeding in business. But these lessons are taught to the extreme in sports for good reason. The other team is not going to give you anything, so take it. Hard work will equal results. If you don't get the desired results, you aren't trying or working hard enough. Aggression, leave it all on the field. Give it all, you blood sweat and tears. These are all expression and mentalities in sports, and are needed in sports, especially at high levels.

But if you do not have a great coach that teaches the differences between sports and life outside of sports (which they normally don't) or parents or other outside influences that don't counterbalance that you can't treat people, especially those weaker than you with the same mentality they are taught in sports, every interaction in life becomes those same sport mantras that have been drilled in their heads. On top of normal sports culture, your star athletes are given everything and learn a sense of entitlement, even as early as high school if not sooner. I have seen both sides. Our start QB and highly touted recruit who was handed everything and had a strong athletes mentality of the world and no counterbalance influence. And our star baseball player who now plays in the Major Leagues, a Rookie of the Year winner, an MVP winner, and 3 time World Series Champion, who did have the outside influence.

Lastly, you have an all male environment that feeds off of itself as well as immaturity on the middle school, high school, and college teams. Without that outside influences, wrong world views outside of sports are cultivated and leads to high rape statistics in college and professional athletes.

That said, whose fault is it? Is it the sports program responsibility to counterbalance itself? Parents, the school? Will women entering men's sports on the field, coaching, or broadcast booth help this issue?

I am a huge sports fan. I play and watch sports. Again, I am not condemning sports. I am advocating for better measures to counteract sports culture when it comes to world views.


message 28: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments Right on Jason! Miss you.


message 29: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 16, 2019 03:53PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Jason wrote: "I strongly believe that competitive sports engenders a rape culture unintentionally. Rape is way to common when it comes to athletes. I am not condemning all athletes or even competitive sports. Ju..."

I agree, and I think conformity plays a strong role too. Everyone conforms to the attitudes or expectations of others to some degree, especially young people. When you add the team mentality and testosterone, it's easy for boys to think they are supposed to be sexual and aggressive, that's who we are - Bears!

Also, the reality is that some girls do willingly throw themselves at athletes, so if a boy had a willing partner after one game, the next time he might not realize that all girls don't feel that way. He might not know that one thing (going upstairs, kissing, etc) does not usually lead to another (sex). When my son was only 13 a girl invited him to a lipstick party (I saw the message), and I was really shocked to discover what it meant. (And grossed out really, because I knew he wasn't ready for this. He was still a kid who had to be nagged to take a shower.) I suspect that for the girls, it might have just been a daring thing to plan, not a signal that they wanted to go all the way with it. (They might want to just leave their mark and end it there.)

------------
The military is another place where sex and violence are too often seen together. Rape is sometimes a strategy, sometimes spurred on by other men, or just opportunistic, driven by a surge of testosterone and adrenaline. There was an old Marine chant - Rape Kill Pillage Burn. Though a Marine told me that his training officers always emphasized that protecting women is a big part of their role, in war and in life. He was told that sexual violence was never OK for marines.

I hope that all parents and coaches talk about this with boys. I always did. Often they were spur of the moment discussions (triggered by a tv show or upcoming party). Repetition of key messages is important.


message 30: by Amy (new)

Amy | 8853 comments So important the role of coaches and parents in curbing violence and shaping excellence of all kinds. Interesting about Kavenaugh today, huh? What kinds of behavior shapes a man and how he thinks and processes material.


message 31: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments NancyJ wrote: "Jason wrote: "I strongly believe that competitive sports engenders a rape culture unintentionally. Rape is way to common when it comes to athletes. I am not condemning all athletes or even competit..."

Great points. My own personal experience, I think it was in 6th grade so 11-12 years old. The guys are talking about girls and particular body parts and sex. I didn't know what that was, but I assumed I should and this is normal and I was the one with a problem not them. So you fake it until you learn enough to be one of the guys. Looking back, they probably heard it from their older brother or being allowed to watch things I wasn't. But that is a major developmental moment with no real counterbalance because we knew enough to not mention it around other adults.

Without proper parenting, much of sex education is from peers at school, which is the worst kind to get.


message 32: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3394 comments NancyJ wrote: "Also, the reality is that some girls do willingly throw themselves at athletes, so if a boy had a willing partner after one game, the next time he might not realize that all girls don't feel that way.."

I think in some cases it is less that they don't realize all girls don't feel that way and more a sense of entitlement. They have never been told no, and they are almost exclusively told how great they are. And this was certainly the case with the perpetrator in Beartown (totally blanking on his name).

It is so infuriating when people say "why would X person rape someone, he can have plenty of hot women." Because rape is never about the sex, it is about power and entitlement. Some men get very angry when they are told no, especially by a woman.


message 33: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Meli wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Also, the reality is that some girls do willingly throw themselves at athletes, so if a boy had a willing partner after one game, the next time he might not realize that all girls do..."

His name is Kevin.

A agree with this. Its funny how rape, the ins and outs is counter-intuitive, such as many saying "why would X person rape someone, he can have plenty of hot women." Or how it seems natural to immediately blame the victim. It takes education and understanding to see rape realistically.


message 34: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3394 comments Jason wrote: "Meli wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Also, the reality is that some girls do willingly throw themselves at athletes, so if a boy had a willing partner after one game, the next time he might not realize that..."

And most recently (with news break of Antonio Brown being accused of sexual assault going back as far as 2017) people asking "why didn't she report it sooner!?" Gee, I can't imagine why someone wouldn't jump at the chance to be a target of hate and vitriol for accusing a famous, public, revered figure. *rolling my eyes*


message 35: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 18, 2019 11:35AM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Jason wrote: "Meli wrote: "NancyJ wrote: " ..."

You're right that it seems natural to blame the victim. It's very common in all kinds of situations. There is a term "belief in a just world." Some people believe it more strongly than others. It's easier to feel safe and comfortable in life if you have a strong belief in a just world, or believe in karma. But (without awareness) it might make you more likely to blame a woman who was raped, because it makes the world seem safer for others. It also makes people blame themselves when bad things happen to them. If you emphasize the importance of positive attitude to a cancer patient they might feel guilty or angry that you're suggesting they brought it on themselves by not being cheerful enough.


message 36: by Meli (new)

Meli (melihooker) | 3394 comments NancyJ wrote: "it might make you more likely to blame a woman who was raped, because it makes the world seem safer for others.."

Yes, I believe people victim-blame because they don't want to believe that we have no control over sexual violence. Some people would rather believe if you dress conservative and stay out of dark alleys and don't get too drunk at a party you are safe because it gives you a sense of control, but of course that is just not true at all.


message 37: by MargieD2017 (new)

MargieD2017 | 263 comments Question: I am not a lawyer so don't know why this can occur but how is it possible that (view spoiler)


message 38: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Haven't read the majority of this thread because I'm only about 150 pages in, did anyone else have a hard time "getting into it". I know I'm ALMOST to something BIG, but there seems to be a lot of setup here......


message 39: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2063 comments Joi wrote: "Haven't read the majority of this thread because I'm only about 150 pages in, did anyone else have a hard time "getting into it". I know I'm ALMOST to something BIG, but there seems to be a lot of ..."

No, not for me. I was so captivated with Backman's style of writing and have yet to read something of Backman that I didn't immediately get into because of his writing style. I know not everyone is the same. My wife, who is not much of a reader, cannot stand Backman's style of writing and chooses not to read his works.


message 40: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments I finally had to bite the bullet and buy a copy. I always get my books from the library. I had gotten and DTB of Beartown some time ago and started by didn't finish it. I don't know much about hockey so I felt a bit lost. Somehow, the beginning didn't grab me at that time - I don't know where my head was! I bought the audio edition and it grabbed me this time.

Without reading much above, I was surprised how it started out so ominously and from that point on, every character that was introduced I said "oh, I hope it didn't involve this one!" Now as I'm reading along, Bachman notes things like "later he would remember this moment" or something like that and I think "whew" that one survives - I hope!


message 41: by NancyJ (last edited Sep 21, 2019 08:29PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments MargieD2017 wrote: "Question: I am not a lawyer so don't know why this can occur but how is it possible that the trial ends with insufficient evidence? Amat's witness statement is highly detailed. Maya's physical woun..."

They were still investigating, I think. Many prosecutors don't want to go to the expense of a trial unless they're sure they can win. (view spoiler) Right now in the US a rape victim might be taken more seriously than in the past. Let's hope the pendulum doesn't swing back the other way again.


message 42: by Barbara M (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments NancyJ wrote: "Right now in the US a rape victim might be taken more seriously than in the past. Let's hope the pendulum doesn't swing back the other way again.. ..."

I agree, certainly. However, this novel is not set in the U.S. but I would have thought that Sweden might be even more likely to side with the victim. Though I have not real reason to believe that! I haven't gotten that far in the book unfortunately. I really should refrain from reading these notes until I'm further in the book or finished!


message 43: by NancyJ (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5572 comments Barbara wrote: "NancyJ wrote: "Right now in the US a rape victim might be taken more seriously than in the past. Let's hope the pendulum doesn't swing back the other way again.. ..."

I agree, certainly. However, ..."


Well, I think Sweden is better in terms of maternity leave and vacation time, but not necessarily sexism or assault. I remember from the Swedish books about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the journalist thought violence against women was the nation's dirty shame. But maybe it's world wide?


message 44: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7871 comments Mt Sister-in-law lives in Sweden-Nancy is correct, it is wonderful on social issues-not so great on crime-especially sexual assault.


message 45: by Joi (last edited Oct 11, 2019 02:39PM) (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Ok guys- all caught up, a couple weeks too late. I posted my review here, but wanted to see- has anyone else here watched Unbelievable on Netflix? It's also a book A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America, and it's a true story.

As you can see in my review, I got pretty fired up reading Beartown- as you all have mentioned here- the victim blaming, the doubt, the ingrained rape culture.


back to top