Beartown lives and breathes hockey. It's a small, isolated town with a dying factory and not much going for it aside from a junior hockey team that used to be good and is on the rise again. Teenage athletes are treated like celebrities. So are washed-up former NHL players like Peter, the general manager of the town's hockey club. The team is poised to head into the finals when its star player is accused of rape and the town takes sides, or rather, side. Even those who believe the fifteen-year- old victim are hesitant to come forward, since most of the town vocally supports the teenage hockey star she accused. Hockey holds the fabric of the town together, and the scandal threatens to rip it apart.
In this departure from Backman's usual humor, his writing builds a clear picture of a desolate town and the people who live in it. The cast of flawed characters narrate the events as lifelong friendships are severed, dreams are lost, and for the first time in a long time in Beartown, bravery is defined by what happens off the ice, not on it.
Reviewed by ba, 06/17. Other reviews by ba.