Last year, after I read A Man Called Ove, I tried to get my hands on everything Fredrik Backman had written. Including Bear Town. I read it but didn’t review it. I couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted to say about it…that it was a good book that filled me with dread every time I picked it up? That I didn’t enjoy it but acknowledged that it was great? That, as the parent of a teenage girl, it scared me to death?
I wasn’t sure, so I didn’t say anything.
And now, here’s the sequel to Bear Town, picking up just a few weeks after Maya holds a gun to Kevin’s head out in the woods. And what do I have to say about it? I really have no idea.
I’ll tell you this: I enjoyed this one even less than Bear Town. And yet, there is no denying that Fredrik Backman is one of the great writers of the 21st century.
It was torture to turn the pages of this book. Teased from the very beginning that TERRIBLE things would happen to some of these characters that we had grown to care about in a town that we had no choice but to love, I was torn between wanting to know what would happen next and anxious about finding out what would happen next.
I cried at least twice. I never thought I would cry while reading a hockey book. But the way that this tiny community reacts to the events of the story took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. More than once I found myself flipping to the final pages of the book to see if certain characters were still alive, wondering if I should give up to save myself some heartbreak.
But I stuck with it. And I didn’t enjoy it. But its still really good. If you read Bear Town, and wondered just what happens next to Maya and Benji, or Bobo and Amat, then you have to read this.
I could have done without most of the political subplots, but I get that certain things had to happen in order to create the necessary conflict. This is a story about people, and I found it puzzling that so much time was spent with characters who don’t ever get names.
This isn’t my favorite Backman book, but its still very good. He’s firmly landed a spot on my must-read authors list.