Sweden: Stand by Your Team?

I have to say I prefer countries with only one or two books to read, because it makes it quite simple to choose. Since Swedish is one of my native languages, I can read pretty much all the books out there. I have read an overwhelming amount of Nordic crime and thrillers books lately, so I wanted to read something different for this challenge, and I realized I still had not read Beartown by Fredrik Backman, so I decided that would be a good choice.

I was right. I did not really have any expectations to be honest, although I knew a lot of people love this book. I understand that now. I did not find it to be as perfect as quite a few people out there, but it is still a really good read. It is a book about ice hockey, but it is not a book about ice hockey. Get it? A small northern town in Sweden surrounded by trees and snow have one thing everyone loves: their hockey team. It is a junior team, but expectations are high for a better future for the men’s team.

It is time for the semi final and final and the only thing that matters is to win. The town is going crazy. Grown men vomit because they are too nervous. Everyone is crazy about the best players. The town is breathing hockey. Naturally, there are many things going on behind the scenes, people living their normal lives with their everyday problems. After the teams win the semi final the teenagers have a massive party, and nothing will ever be the same…

Humans are the weirdest creatures on the planet and every irrational, rational, smart, and dumb thing humans can think and do is in this book. Which side do you choose? Do you stand on the side of the team no matter what? Do you choose to do the right thing even though you know everyone will hate you and you will be an outcast? Integrity – what is that?

Backman writes well about how humans behave in crises and everyday life. It shows we are all dealing with different things in life. One is secretly gay; another one questions why the gay guy did not feel confident enough to tell him. One has to choose between his work, the team, and his town or his daughter and family. Many thinks he chose wrong. This book is about so much more than hockey. It is about being a human, being part of something. It is about small-town life, with all the good and bad that comes with it. I recommend the book to everyone. It makes you question many things as well. What would you have chosen to do if you were the person having to make the decision? Then in this book you ask this question over and over again.  

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