“Everyone has a thousand wishes before a tragedy, but just one afterward.”
This is the hardest book I've ever had to read in my life. I've only had other 2 books that gave me such a hard time and those were The Flowers for Argenon by Daniel Keyes and Challenger Deep by Neil Shusterman. Still those two books can't compete with how brutal Beartown was on me.
Beartown is not a happy book. It's not an easy book, nor is it pleasant. Not even close. It's a hard, heavy book that made me feel angry and helpless.
Did I enjoy it? No. But I did love it.
Would I read it again? I don't think I'd be able to handle it again. But I recommend that everyone read Beartown.
“Bitterness can be corrosive. It can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean, until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.”
Beartown is a hokey town. I myself don't like hockey, and to be honest with you I think I even hate it now. If you are a hockey fan this book will speak to you on another level. If you are not a hockey fan, there are things in Beartown that are more important than hockey. Because I don't care about hockey the first 150 pages of the book were a drag, but I'm glad I stuck around anyway, because this book pulverized me.
I was expecting something along the lines of A man called Ove - sad, quirky and with lots of tears. Beartown was nothing like that - it was brutal, pretty depressing and instead of tears I just got buckets of rage. Want to feel angry? Want to feel blind rage coursing through your veins? Read Beartown.
“The very worst events in life have that effect on a family: we always remember, more sharply than anything else, the last happy moments before everything fell apart.”
Backman weaves the story of a small town community, but somehow it's the most personal and intimate thing you will ever read. The characters are introduced and the array of emotions you go through as those characters make their choice vary from affection to "I want to kill them all".
The writing is precise and choppy - somehow perfect for the cold bareness of the Beartown, but it brings more dimensions to the story than any flowery and overly wordy writing ever could. Backman might as well be a genius of human psyche, because man knows what he's doing, and he's doing it really, really well.