People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
I read this book a week ago and I can still remember how lost I felt when I got to the last page. I was sad, fighting back tears wondering how I was supposed to just move on and read another book after this one. I thought I knew how it felt to experience a book hangover but I can’t remember the last time I felt this way.
The Scandal is the story about a small, hockey town called Beartown. This town loves hockey so much. The residents live for the game. Their passion for hockey knows no bound. This is evident right from the beginning of the story. The author introduces the characters, the town and their love for hockey. Everyone in the town is touched by hockey. Simply put, Beartown is a hockey town!
The story is narrated through multiple characters. I admit, at first I was fazed by all the characters. At some point, I groaned to myself ‘not another narrator!’ However, I soon started following the story and was able to appreciate how masterfully the author jumped from one narrator to another and still managed to make the story flow easily. I wasn’t confused trying to keep up with the narrative.
This book gave me the feels! My initial plan was to read it slowly over a week. I wanted to prolong the experience. However, I was soon held captive by the story and all my plans went out of the window. I ended up devouring this in just a few hours. The book made me smile but it also really broke my heart and made me dislike small towns at some point. Nevertheless, I was captivated by the tale and weirdly fascinated by the town even when it made me want to never live there. I admired the residents love for their town and the game. In many ways, this book reminded me of Friday Night Lights. Reading it, I found myself thinking of FNL although the storylines are not exactly the same. In my mind though, characters like Tim Riggins and Benji look the same. I liked how similar the books are in terms of the small town settings, memorable characters and passion for their sport.
I can’t recommend this book enough. The Scandal is a wonderful, moving story with some of the most memorable characters that I have encountered. I have no doubt that this is one of the titles that I will be listing the next time someone asks me about my favourite books of all time.
I would like to sincerely thank Renee (its book talk) and Annie (The Misstery) for my copy of this book. Thanks to these wonderful ladies, this book has travelled across three continents. Book bloggers are amazing!