Beartown is a story that came highly recommended to me. As someone who grew up in a smaller, northern town and spent many hours in the local arena, both as a player and a parent, I could hear the call of Beartown loud and clear.
Beartown isn’t a story about hockey, it is a story about people and community; replace hockey with football or basketball and you’ll find yourself in rural Texas or Indiana. You don’t have to be a sports enthusiast to appreciate Backman’s insight into human nature; the hopes and dreams of a community and how a crashing star can bring the whole house of cards to the ground.
This story is filled with character, and just like in real life, some of them are good and, well, others are evil. Backman brought his characters to life and made them tangible. They are what drove the story forward, and kept me reading on. You can tell that Backman is a people watcher, he sees beyond the facades and delves into what makes the person tick.
On one hand, you could say that Beartown is a story about truth; not the truth that you are comfortable with, but the truth that people don’t want to hear. How people need to hide their truth and reveal only the faces that they think we want to see. It is about the hard truth; it makes us ask questions we don’t want to ask and definitely with answers that nobody wants to hear. Backman’s characters each experience the truth in their own way.
Read Beartown, you will love Beartown; you will hate some of the people in Beartown, you will love some of the people in Beartown.