The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Review: “Beartown” reflects on the views of society

Beartown Book Review
Jaiedenn Dolan
Read Beartown as a way to reflect on some of our society’s values.

With the increase of interest regarding mental health, readers should invest a little of their time to read “Beartown” by Fredrick Backman, as it goes into numerous topics addressing the effect people have on each other. The book left a lasting impression on its readers, giving a new perspective and mindset on societal issues in our current society. 

In a small Swedish town where hockey is king, teenager Maya Andersson is raped by 17 year old Kevin Erdahl, the best player on the Beartown hockey team. Maya soon tells the small town, where everyone is connected, what happened to her on that night, causing an uprising. This forces their town, and especially a group of young adults, to reflect on everything they once knew. They will have to address the complicated relationship between the truth of what happened that night, and how it affects the fundamental principle that is the center of their town, hockey. 

Fredrik Backman, a Swedish author, has written several other popular books such as “Anxious People”, “A Man Called Ove”, “My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry”, and many others. “Beartown” is a part of a novel trilogy along with “Us Against You” and the most recent addition, “The Winners”. These three books are narrated from the third person point of view, and are all set in Norrbotten, Sweden, in a fictional town called Björnstad (Beartown).

There are many reasons to fall in love with “Beartown”, because the story manages to dive deep into mental health and societal issues realistically. This book covers a variety of topics regarding rape, sexuality, social pressure, substance abuse, and many more. Along with those issues, a significant dilemma arises between holding Kevin accountable for his wrongful act against Maya, or ignoring the problem due to the desire to win the hockey championship. With these topics, Backman creates detailed narratives that submerses the reader in various aspects of what it’s like to experience these obstacles. He also uses his characters to portray the variety of ways in which people cope, and that recovery isn’t always linear. Maya, one of the main characters in the story, brings awareness to the victims of rape and the difficulties of finding herself again. She learns to manage the feeling of fear that will always reside in her and the loss of safe places she once loved. 

Backman develops many complex relationships throughout the duration of his books. He also includes many different relationships between husband and wife, teammates, friends, and children and their parents. Through differentiating relationships, Fredrick captures complicated human emotions involved with connection. Not only does he write about the unattainable amount of love we can have for someone, but also the many struggles we face and the sacrifices we make for love. Maya and her best friend Ana’s companionship demonstrates this all too well, as Maya witnesses her friend succumb to societal pressures regarding the standards of women. Ana watches as her town turns against her best friend for an event out of Maya’s control. But no matter what they go through, they end up on the other side together. 

Backman also allows readers to dive deeper into characters and allows them to explore different perspectives and personalities. The third-person narration is very important, as it allows the reader to build a deeper understanding of several different characters. Benji, my favorite character, is known for his fleeting and destructive personality as he comes and goes into people’s lives as he pleases. With this, he has a reputation for knowing to leave a lasting impact on people he encounters, and when he leaves no one is quite able to fill the void. Readers watch him go through a journey filled with highs and many lows. Because of his character, and everyone else in the book, we better understand ourselves and feel less alone. 

Another book that Backman wrote was “Anxious People”, which provides readers with a humorous story more light-hearted than “Beartown“. they both bring to life the complexities of being human and paint the importance of interactions between people. He still features his unique writing style, allowing his readers to look deeper inside everyone’s story. 

Many readers have a book that they will never stop recommending or a book they will never quite get over. “Beartown” is mine, and hopefully, it can be others’ as it captures the hearts of readers and prompts internal reflection. 

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About the Contributor
Jaiedenn Dolan, Beat Editor
Jaiedenn Dolan is a senior and second-year journalist. She enjoys writing about politics, worldwide, and current events. She hopes to bring light to current political events that are happening around our school. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going out with friends, and going to Santa Cruz.

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