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Welcome to Beartown. It’s a friendly town where people with deep roots welcome those who have come from somewhere else, the kind of place where some who have left choose to return. And in Beartown you will also get swept up into the town’s commitment to hockey and its junior team.

Within the first few chapters, Swedish author Fredrick Backman successfully endears the reader to a whole town of characters, their passions, and their connections to the hockey team. He tells us just enough about each one to keep it simple. And then suddenly the hockey town plot line becomes complex.

Backman writes with uncommon wisdom about the nature of communities and their shared life. The story takes place in Sweden, but it could be any small town in Canada or the U.S. It is about hockey, but it could be any sport that a community rallies around. The story is universal enough to be a mirror held up to a church, school, or workplace. It explores joy, sorrow, and disappointment through the lenses of parenting and leadership, culture and power, peer pressure, and friendship.

Beartown is a good read for anyone willing to look into the heart of their own community. (Atria)

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