Beartown by Fredrik Backman
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A town is slowly dying… What used to be a very touristic forest town is now an almost forgotten hamlet in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. That’s where Beartown Audiobook by Fredrik Backman takes place.
This lonely place is almost never visited and therfore, the conomy there has stuck. Almost everybody is losing their jobs or those jobs are worthless, and many others are simply leaving.
The only thing that’s lleft for this little town and has everyones hope to saved their homes is hockey. Every single habitant of Beartown is convinced that the promising team can win the year’s tournament and bring back tourists by flocks.
For this endeavor they trust primarily in Kevin, the star player of the team with a chance of being professional. But things start to get complicated as a foreign single mother comes to town and his kid has a natural ability for playing.
Then is where we start to see the true colors of these small, closed community. But that’s only the beginning and what is to come will submerge the whole town in the predicament of their lives.
After a huge victory, Kevin decides to throw a party in his house and Maya, the 15 y/o daughter of the team’s manager attends that party. At first, she’s delighted with how much attention she’s getting from the top star and flirts back to him.
As anything involving teens, uberly inflated ego players and alcohol, things turn bad and Kevin ends up raping Maya. When she finally tells her parents, a whirlwind of moral dilemmas covers the town hopes.
Kevin is accused of raping and therefore he can’t play, but what will become of the town now? The values of every member of the community start to crash and the culture of silence seems to only way to get the victory.
What can a father and a whole dying town do when their only hope to survive lies in a rapist kid? This is exactly how deep Backman is going to take the audience.
If something can be said about Beartown Audiobook by Fredrik Backman is that it completely lacks the subtlety of a delciate story. While the message and the values imprinted in this audiobook are actually sly and delicate, the way he narrates is completely hammering.
Without a doubt the heaviest and darkest of his novels, with not only hard situations but also harsh characters. Even the hints of humor are quite dark, bringing strong emotions that some might tolerate while other may burst into tears or anger.
The resources used by Backman in this audiobook are also overwhelming, seasoning the plot and characters faults with real kinestesic and painful tools. Repetition, as an example may be one of the most soring ones as the dialogues are accompanied with onomatopoeia such as “bang, bang, bang, bang” and many hurtful phrases and sayings are repeated now and then.
It’s no secret that there’s a tendecy nowadays on approaching this topics for so long avoided and hidden, but in this case it’s not only “the raped girl and everybody covering it” theme but what lies in the decision a whole town needs to make.
Finally, the author has a very deep sense for the sport, what is plasmated in the novel, making us all feel what this passion is like for those who lives it.
But further from concentrating in this only emotion, he follows the line of more than 10 characters and in slightlier way, of the whole town, creating some kind of regionalism. In “Beartown” every character has a deep profoundity and even though we may not like everyone of them, he manages to put us all in their shoes.
Does this story end up here or is there a second book?
Early this year Backman realeased the second part of this novel called “Us Against You”.
Is this audiobook supporting silence culture or rape culture?
Unlike other relatable stories such as “13 reasons why” the main paradigm of the Beartown is not exactly the rape but the dicotomy of right and wrong when facing destruction (the death of the town). Nevertheless, the novel represents a very clear statement and position towards rape which is definitely NOT supporting it.