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Us Against You: A Novel

Us Against You: A Novel

Written by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by Marin Ireland


Us Against You: A Novel

Written by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by Marin Ireland

ratings:
4.5/5 (451 ratings)
Length:
14 hours
Released:
Jun 5, 2018
ISBN:
9781508251743
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Editor's Note

Charming tale…

Return to the struggling, hockey-obsessed Beartown, still in turmoil over the events of Fredrik Backman’s first novel in the trilogy. Politics and the duality of human nature continue to duke it out both on and off the ice as a new crop of players join the team.

Description

From the "Dickens of our age" (Green Valley News) and New York Times bestselling author of Beartown and A Man Called Ove, a heart-wrenching story of how loyalty, friendship, and love carry a town through its darkest days.

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they learn that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown's new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you'll ever see; Benji, the crazed lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. Bringing this team together is a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up, and hatred grows deeper. When the last game is finally played, one of Beartown's key players will be dead, and residents of both towns are forced to wonder whether, after all they've been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

Us Against You is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that form and color our communities. Compelling and heartbreaking, it's a roller-coaster ride of emotions with Fredrik "Backman's pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature" (Shelf Awareness).

Released:
Jun 5, 2018
ISBN:
9781508251743
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Fredrik Backman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, Beartown, Us Against You, and Anxious People, as well as two novellas and one work of nonfiction. His books are published in more than forty countries. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter @BackmanLand and on Instagram @Backmansk.


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Reviews

What people think about Us Against You

4.6
451 ratings / 55 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Story began in the novel, Beartown. Accused rapist and hockey star has left the area with his family. His victim, daughter of the hockey club manager, struggles with being bullied and deserted by friends. Key team members and one coach jump ship to join the rival club. A hockey story that is a tale about adversity, sexism, sexuality, gender roles, loyalty and more.
  • (5/5)
    It’s so rare to find a sequel that is just as good as the first novel. That definitely happened here. Mind you, I abandoned Beartown more than once until I listened to the audiobook, so I’m not just all about the hype. I went straight to the audio version of this novel and I love the narrator. The story is so beautifully told in such a great voice. I don’t have words for this right now, just love.
  • (5/5)
    Us Against You brings us back to Beartown. (Didn’t catch that review, find it here!) The Beartown hockey club is all but dead loosing most of the team to Hed, and along with it, the sponsors. With some sly maneuvering from a local politician involving a new sponsorship, a new coach, and the recruitment of a questionable talent, Peter Anderson just might be able to save hockey in Beartown. Building the team around Amat, Benji, Bobo, and the new recruit, Vidar, it looks like Beartown stands a fighting chance against Hed this year. Tensions mount between the two teams, and as a result, the two towns. Escalating violence goes from nuisance to deadly leaving the two towns wondering when hockey got so complicated and if can ever be the same again. Blown away by Backman, the man can write! Another deeply moving novel that gives an introspective look into a proud hockey town. While Beartown focused more on the story of Maya, Us Against You gives us a more in depth look at Benji and The Pack. Each and every character was so expertly developed that they felt like actual people, people that I felt I knew deeply and wholly. I was once again awed by how Backman can not only capture his characters personalities with such a nuanced depth but how each of those characters fits in with the whole; The whole of their family units and the even the broader scope of within the town. Good characterization builds not only a complete picture of a person but how that person interacts with everything/everyone within its setting, and Backman is a master of it. This book had far more twists and turns than I was anticipating and I found myself flying through the pages like a madwoman long past my bedtime. Add this on your must read ASAP- it’s one that will stick with you, I promise.
  • (5/5)
    Backman once again shows his talent as a master storyteller. Even though the novel is about hockey, Backman gives us insights into the human experiences of the residents of Beartown. Us Against You picks up where Beartown left off. He allows us to feel everything his characters are feeling. He shows us their flaws and strengths. His scenes bring tears to our eyes, cause us despair and then moments of humor that give us a smile. This is a powerful and moving sequel and I highly recommend reading Us Against You.
  • (5/5)
    "Everyone gets a stick. Two goals. Two teams." Ice hockey is used as the vehicle for the story, but the sport never becomes overwhelming. In reality a story about people and community, right and wrong. Excellent story.
  • (4/5)
    Sequel to Beartown. Beautifully written as it continues the story of Beartown and its inhabitants. Follows the hockey club as it faces demise and an opportunistic politician finds a way to trade favors to save it as a way to position himself for future power. It continues the story of Ana and Maya, Peter, Amit and Benji.
  • (5/5)
    I am a huge fan of Fredrik Backman's books. His last, Beartown, was superb. (my review) I was thrilled when I found out there was a sequel - Us Against You. I wanted to know what happened next.....Us Against You picks up where Beartown left off. After an unthinkable crime, can the hockey mad Beartown ever pick up the pieces? Their team is disbanded, their funding non existent, they have no coach and there are cracks in the town's support system. An unnamed narrator again guides us through the months after that event.The basis of Us Against You is hockey, but it's the story of the players, their supporters and their plans, hopes, dreams and schemes. And it is this exploration that has made these two novels five star reads for me. The cast is large and diverse, with the young players affecting me the most. Their stories are poignant and so well written.But it is also about hockey and how that desire to win and conquer rivals can also lead down some disturbing paths. (And really, it's not that far from the truth)"In many years’ time we may not know what to call this story. We will say it was a story about violence. About hate. About conflict and difference and communities that tore themselves apart. But that won’t be true, at least not entirely. It’s also a different sort of story." And just like Beartown, it's a helluva story.I chose to listen to this latest. The reader was Marin Ireland, a narrator I have previously enjoyed. She's chosen a voice that suits the unnamed narrator - the almost dispassionate tone of an observer, not a player. This was quite effective, lending more weight to the words themselves. That's not to say there isn't any movement to her voice - there is. She articulates well and her voice is pleasant to listen to. Us Against You is storytelling at its finest. Absolutely recommended listening or reading, but make sure to read Beartown first.
  • (5/5)
    Us Against You by Fredrik Backman is a 2018 Atria Books publication. A sullen, yet optimistic examination of a town suffering an identity crisis and the residents who must learn to adjust to a new normal-While many of us became fans of Fredrik Backman because of his unique ability to weave whimisical stories, featuring quirky, but loveable characters. This method of presentation often softened the darker tones. With Beartown, however, Backman didn’t sugarcoat the darker elements and created an edgier story than some were accustomed to, but one that truly resonated with many people. Us Against You is the follow-up novel to Beartown and deals with the fallout and ramifications of the events that transpired in the first book, beginning with Maya’s assault accusations, which turned her family into pariahs.When Peter learns that Beartown’s hockey team will be dismantled, he finds himself at the mercy of local politicians with their own shady agendas. The team players are offered positions with the rival town of Hed. This creates a division, on top of the tensions surrounding the situation with Maya, ultimately exposing a gap in priorities, and shines a bright spotlight on misogyny, and the lack of diversity. As a new team begins to form, the competition between the two towns reaches a fever pitch. Meanwhile, Peter, Kira and Maya struggle to find balance in their lives again. For Peter, hockey is all he has ever known, and he has no idea how to give it up- not without a fight- even if he must make certain concessions. Kira is once again in the position of putting her career, her marriage, and herself in second place so that Peter can still pursue hockey- while both of them struggle to come to terms with what happened to their daughter. Eventually, the tensions boil over- with devastating results… As I said in my review of “Beartown” you don’t have to understand anything about hockey to ‘get’ this book. You can substitute a number of things for hockey, instead. Here in Texas, high school football is a molten god and many small towns depend on it for their revenue, their very identities, which was a parallel I immediately related to, but it doesn’t even have to be about sports- it’s whatever issue or situation that becomes an obsession. In this case it's blowing a sport, or a fun pastime out of all proportions, turning it into something else entirely. The characters in this novel are complicated, raw, and so very human and so very real. Backman has a real knack for nailing human frailties, exposing the most sensitive fears and conflictions, as well as understanding the dynamics of small towns everywhere. While the story is bleak, the town and characters suffering setbacks and dissension, progress is not completely off the table. We’ll see people go to hell and back, face their darkest demons, take bold strides in combating ignorant bias and destructive attitudes and behavior, which will provides that allegorical explanation of the book’s title. Backman’s characters are pragmatist, occasionally cynical, often reflective, but also optimistic and tenacious, eventually leading them to a destination they were long overdue to arrive at. In so many ways, Beartown points a mirror back at all of us- It’s me- it’s you- it’s every town, every city, everywhere. Once again, Backman nails it. This is a very thought provoking read, and expansion of Beartown that left me in a very contemplative mood, but also one of peace, and with a feeling that these characters can only go upwards from here. 4.5 stars
  • (2/5)
    I just could not get into this one. I struggled through it. I did not like how many characters there are to keep track of, the vague writing style and I really did not like the random “glimpse into the future” phrasing the author put sporadically into the choppy paragraphs. I found it confusing at times instead of informative. This one was not for me !!!
  • (5/5)
    Beartown is one of my favorite books so my expectations were high and this book did not disappoint. I know nothing about hockey and don't even enjoy sports much but absolutely love this book. Fredrik Backman has such a gift - he is able to make you understand and care about his characters so much. His writing is so relevant and the topics are so relatable. Even though this story is about hockey in a small town in Sweden it just as easily could be about football in a small town in Texas. The book makes you think and brought me to tears more than once. I won an ARC of this book from Goodreads.
  • (3/5)
    Way too many characters, and some that occur often do not even get names. This made it hard to really connect with any.
  • (3/5)
    I had some problems with parts of this book but it certainly kept my attention. I will miss being in Beartown. 3.5 stars
  • (4/5)
    Very well written as one would expect from Backman and enjoyed his technique of letting you think something was going to happen but throws a twist in. Did find it to be a very sad book.
  • (5/5)
    "Hockey is a simple game if you strip away all the crap surrounding it and just keep the things that made us love it in the first place - Everyone gets a stick. Two nets. Two teams. Us against you." This theme runs throughout the book, as Backman takes us back to Beartown. This book picks up where the book Beartown ended. Its summer in the town, and the town is coming to what it considers it is year end. September is the first day of the year in Beartown because that's when hockey starts. The town is moving on since the shocking events of the previous winter, but it hasn't healed and lives are still in limbo. This book gives the reader a look at a town that has died, and then started to try to live again, and then with further events, its recovery has stalled. After reading two books about this tiny town in northern Sweden, I feel like I really know the people. Backman has that effect with his characters. They are so real and so alive that it doesn't seem like fiction. We know and love Ramona, the owner of the Bearskin pub, the five grandfathers that spend most of their time in that pub, Bobo, Ana, Maya, Leo, and of course The Pack are all friends to me now. But most of all Benji. Make no mistake, all the characters are wonderful, but Benji carries this book as he did Beartown. Backman's writing style is hard hitting, compassionate and cerebral. I am so glad that he decided that the Benji's story wasn't complete with Beartown. We are very lucky to get another chance to visit this wonderful little town. The people live hard, love hard, and most of everyone lives for hockey. There are some wonderful new characters as well. The new hockey coach, teachers at the high school, some people in the neighbouring town of Hed. I cannot recommend both of these books enough. Fredrik Backman is one of the main reasons why I love to read.
  • (5/5)
    I am always amazed at the insight this author shows into the hearts and minds of his characters. He seems to truly understand human nature and the fragility that exists in each of us. One little choice becomes the domino effect that creates another, for good or ill. If only we all thought a little more before we jumped to conclusions. The story is like a fairy tale in that most of the characters achieve their goals in one way or another, but it is also almost non-fiction because we have all found ourselves in similar situations in our own lives or in the lives of others. In this book, sports was the catalyst, in other books other ideas are utilized. I found this to be the most realistic venue to highlight all of our human frailties and strengths, all of our hopes and aspirations. In the end, what do we all seek if not freedom to be who and what we are, coupled with happiness and success in a life that is free of as much pain as possible.This is the second book in a series, the first of which was called “Beartown”. The same characters reappear. The town has betrayed Peter Anderssen, the General Manager of the Beartown hockey team. His daughter, Maya, was raped by the star hockey player and when he made the issue public before the championship game, Kevin Erdahl was arrested and couldn’t play. The Beartown team lost to the Hed hockey team. The future of hockey in Beartown suddenly ended. The team lost funding and the town council decided to support only Hed hockey, which was the winning team. Peter was now persona non grata.As a result, Peter may no longer have a job, his daughter has been vilified, and his son Leo, 12 years old, has been ostracized. However his wife, Kira sees one shining light. She is thinking that maybe now is the time for them to move on, to begin again and let her have her big break. She wants her own law firm. Maybe it is time to kick hockey out of their lives. They have had to deal with veiled threats against their property and their lives and have accumulated newfound enemies. Is hockey worth it? The reader will wonder, what is the real problem being highlighted in this novel?Into this mix of characters and events, we have a quasi corrupt politician who takes advantage of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses to improve his own lot. Richard Theo preys on vulnerabilities and exploits them creating conflict, after which he steps in with solutions, never leaving his own dirty fingerprints. He remains innocent as he creates havoc. He has his future planned as the savior of the town, but to do that, he has created two faces, one is good and the other smacks of pure evil as he pits everyone against someone else and stands back taking only the credit for positive results, always distancing himself from the negative effects of his manipulations. He creates hateful situations which boil over. With some of these situations, cooler heads often do prevail, preventing catastrophe. With others, all hell breaks loose and tragedies occur. The story takes place in a town that wants to land on its feet no matter how many times it gets knocked down, inhabited by characters equally motivated and strong. The cloth of diversity exists there in every pattern, regarding intellect, age, success, failure, ambition, poverty, race, economy and sexuality. It is a place that depicts the world as it is, with all of its warts and foibles. Backman uses the town and its people to analyze different character traits. The ideas of forgiveness, choices, thoughtfulness, anger, frustration, fear, joy, love and hate are laid bare. Sometimes, it feels like too many ideas are confronting the reader and yet, each idea is so important, it becomes necessary to complete the whole.Often, the right advice comes from the wrong people. Often advice given is not always prudent, but it is always thought provoking. At times, the emotions and advice from the youngest seems more thought out and honest in its innocent approach, hitting the problem right on the target with just the right answer. Sometimes the crudest people make the finest suggestions. All sides of all problems and all people seem to come together of a piece in this book turning everything upside down and right side up at the same timeThe book deals with the sadness of everyday life. There is death, sickness, failure, despair and dejection, but there is also loyalty, love, friendship, compassion, and dreams. Even what might seem extraneous at first, like homosexuality and opportunity for women, when inserted front and center, become paramount. The reader sees the reactions of a husband and a child to the loss of a parent and spouse. The reader also sees the reaction of parents to the loss of a child, to the disappointing decisions of a child and to the difficult realization of the truth about a child. Each and every issue dissected is done so with such clarity and honesty that it feels like the situation is real or has been at one time or another in someone’s life. The fairytale aspect consists in the fact that most times, everyone does the honorable thing. The ill die well, the criminals reform when necessary and make the right choice to prevent more evil, and good citizens step up to save the day. Evildoers often get their comeuppance, as well. But sometimes, when they don’t, the victims are forgiving, become greater than the injustice and move on as better people. All people have both qualities inside them, good and evil, and this author displays that fact admirably and authentically. The wrong people often do the right thing even when it goes unnoticed or is unappreciated. The basest qualities of people are illuminated and contrasted with the highest achievements of goodness of which they are capable.The book uses sports to display the virtues and vices that people are subject to and does it superbly. Venality and honor are always in stark contrast. Each character, and there are many, is trapped in untenable situations and is forced to make a decision, often the least likely one, but Backman gives them a noble way out, even as he paints them into what seems like a corner with no exit. To keep the reader interested, he misdirects and leads the narrative first in one way and then in another. Ordinary life plays out on each page highlighting the acts of selfishness and kindness that “flesh is heir to”. The book highlights the differences in perception, judgment, greed, self control, ethics, intelligence, background, culture, sex, ability, ambition and its lack. Using Theo, the devious politician, as the instigator, he forces the reader to watch as the dominos fall and character flaws and strengths are illuminated. Each character is a combination of both; in each, both the characteristics may live symbiotically or as parasites, depending on the choices made. The book, like a magnet, draws you toward it over and over. Backman drills down into the deepest and innermost thoughts of his characters and he captures their honest emotions and honest reactions. He connects with them on an absolutely human level as if he was inside their hearts and heads and places the reader in that space. He is a genius when it comes to understanding human nature and reasoning, and he has laid it out clearly on every page of this novel. It is more profound than it seems at first read.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best follow up books to a great book I have ever read. The story of a small town that revolves around their sport....the politics, the deception, the breaking of trust, the building of new relationships and repairing those that get damaged. It is intense and heartfelt.
  • (5/5)
    Is there a future for the small community of Beartown in northern Sweden after all that happened last season? Summer is almost over, but how should life go on without a hockey team? The best players have left and taken the coach with them. Peter Anderson, the ice hockey club’s GM, is left behind with a mess; when the club presents the new coach – a woman – this seems to be the last nail in his coffin. But Beartown is not a place where people give up, they all fight, for different goals, with different motives. And slowly a new team forms and life comes back to the community. Hockey is not all there, hockey is everything and for the sake of the game, you sometimes have to cut back your own interests.I have read several novels written by Frederik Backman, also the first of the Beartown series which I find absolutely necessary to understand this one, and I still do not know how he manages to drag you so completely into the novel and to make you want to cry several times. Even though in this instalment, there is not the big culminating point to which the plot inevitably heads like in the first one, you can feel the suspense throughout the whole novel. After what had happened before – the rape, the hatred, the taking sides – the characters now need to adjust their lives, somehow get back to a kind of normal which isn’t the normal they had known before. This is where the greatest strength of the author lies: he manages like hardly any other to portray the nuances in the feelings, contradicting emotions and strong convictions which cannot be explained since they have always been there and are true therefore. His characters walk on brittle ground, any second, it all could explode and the whole community could end in total chaos. They move carefully, but sometimes also like a bull in a china shop, but they are aware of each other and especially of the other’s needs. What is so special about Beartown is the strength of the people when they are needed. They all have a good heart, the fight hard, but they also know that as humans they have to take care of each other and that life is not always fair but that they can balance the unfairness with their actions.No, life is never easy in Beartown, many suffer a lot and you wouldn’t want to change places with them. Yet, on the other hand, what more could you hope for than a place like this small town and its inhabitants? Again, it is a novel about hockey. But also about love and hate. Life and death. Violence and peace. Just about everything that matters. And above, wonderfully written so that you can hardly put it away once you’ve started reading.
  • (4/5)
    The inhabitants of Beartown are still dealing with the fallout from their star hockey player, Kevin Erdahl, raping Maya Andersson, the daughter of the club manager. Now the Erdahls are moving, most of the junior team is playing for the rival town of Hed, and a politician sees an opportunity to exploit the situation.I didn't like this book quite as much as the first. Like Beartown, the plot took a little while to get moving and for most of the beginning the connecting thread between a myriad of characters and threads was the smarmy politician. As in Beartown, there's a big reveal and fallout that get the action moving, but for some reason I didn't feel as emotionally connected to what was happening for much of the book. You don't necessarily have to have read the first book, as the beginning reveals the pertinent parts, but it doesn't hurt to keep track of all the characters. This one follows almost all the same from the first book and adds a few more for good measure. Where Backman excels, however, is in describing many characters and their motivations; no one is "the bad guy" (except in this case the politician) but they all have good and bad qualities and are just trying their best with the cards life has dealt them. I still cared enough to cry at the end, and found it an overall satisfying read.
  • (4/5)
    A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.Can a town that is already broken, survive more tragedy?After a scandal rocks Beartown and leaves a town divided, the citizens are dealt another blow when they learn that their beloved junior hockey team will be dismantled. Hockey is what binds them together and brings meaning to the term community. The only people that are happy about this are the former Beartown players that now play for the rival team in Hed. Tension is at an all time high and things are starting to get dangerous.A new team starts to form around the fastest player, Amat; the loner, Benji; and instigator, Vidar. Under a new and unlikely coach, the boys learn to grow together, breaking old bonds and forging new ones.As the big game between Beartown and Hed approaches, the incidents between the towns are piling up and the hatred is growing stronger day-by-day. Can Beartown hockey and its residents be saved? Us Against You is thought provoking and at times, heartbreaking. It is a fantastic followup to Beartown—I found that book greatly appealing and timely covering topics such as homophobia, racism, sexism and politics.My only complaint is that I found the narrative disjointed, choppy, and it rambled at times. Backman also breaks the fourth wall on a few occasions, reminding his audience what kind of story they are reading and I don't think this is necessary because the reader is already vested in the story—he is an engaging and dynamic writer and I was glad to reside in Beartown again.
  • (5/5)
    Powerful! Radiant!I finish reading Backman's latest novel about Beartown and am both exhausted and rewarded. I'm somewhat ravaged by the emotions that run through this story of a community that is at once damning of the mob like human condition and uplifted by various individual's actions and dives into communal core values. The rape of Maya has far reaching consequences for Maya, her family and the town that continue to unfold. Familiar protagonists are encountered in the aftermath. New charcters bring new challenges.I try to slow my reading but I can't. I am driven by the pace of unfolding events to consume the story at an ever increasing rate of knots. The personalities I encounter are awesome.I stand tall with the Black Jackets , flinch with Maya, am appalled at the exposure of Benji, am confounded by Ana's actions in a moment of rejection--a new moment that changes lives, am caught up by Vida, and feel the silent rage of Leo. I could go on. Everywhere are ordinary people who are extraordinary in their every day lives, their love of their town, all held together by their insane dedication to hockey. There's a wide spectrum of people and emotions, a community that's ugly at times, sensitive and forgiving at others.And bubbling beneath flows a wisdom thst speaks loudly to our times. Another 'no punches pulled' gift from Backman!A NetGalley ARC
  • (5/5)
    In Beartown, author Fredrick Backman told the tale of a small Swedish town in economic decline held together by its obsession with hockey and torn apart by a sexual assault of a young girl by the star player. In the sequel, Us Against You, Backman returns to Beartown and the aftermath of the assault - how the town is coping or not, the divisions, betrayals, and even violence that have arisen from the assault. Most of the players and the coach have deserted to Hed, Beartown’s past rival and although the remaining team manages to hold on just barely thanks to a local self-serving politician, their new coach is a woman which seems, to many, like the very last straw. But Beartown folks have never had it easy and they are a tough lot. It'll take time, work, and forgiveness, they have many hurdles to jump over, but they are determined that, in the end they can survive even this. They realize that Beartown can never return to what it was and perhaps it shouldn’t but they can still be a community thanks to their shared love of the game.Backman has a way of making us care deeply about the characters, both the ones from the first book and the new ones we meet here. Although there is no real defining moment here like the rape in Beartown to pull it all together, Backman still manages to create suspense and Us Against You is one heck of an emotional roller coaster of a ride. It should be noted that you don’t have to be a hockey fan to read this book; you just need to love a well-written and completely addicting story. However, it is not a standalone and you really need to read the first book to fully appreciate Us Against You.4.5 Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
  • (5/5)
    It was the best of times and the worst of times. This is a fitting quote for what is going on in Beartown since the end of the last book. Beartown has lost many of their best hockey players to Hed, their own hockey team has lost most of their support and sponsor money. But then, seemingly a miracle, a politician gets involved, new factory, new someone, new coach, a woman. Peter gets to keep his job as General Manager. Politics and sports should never mix, as many will find out by books end.So many times I put this book down, to think about what I just read, to wonder at this author and his insightful comments, and yes, because I was overcome with emotion. (The marshmallow effect strikes again.) This author shows us, The best and worst of living in a small town. The best and worst of being part of a team. The best and worst of parenting, marriage. The best and worst of friendships and The best and worst of being different.Plus, he has given us so many wonderful characters, varied, flawed, so very human, characters we can fully embrace. Tackles many of the problems inherint in small towns, weaving a story that I didn't want to end. By books end, he had broken my heart, in the best and worst possible way.ARC from Netgalley.
  • (4/5)
    It's not that the writing wasn't good, because it was, or that the story didn't hold together, because it did-- it's just that the story had such overwhelming sorrow in it, along with anger and misunderstanding. I usually feel good after a Backman book, but this was very dark and not where my head needed to be right now.
  • (5/5)
    This amazing book! Plays gently but pointedly with the reader and entertains, whilst terrorising, building and dashing hopes and presenting such true to life characters that you can't help but be carried along as part of the story. Enjoyed it and especially loved the audio version.
  • (5/5)
    This guy can’t write a bad book, he’s unbelievable! Can’t wait for the next one.
  • (4/5)
    Pretty good but not as good as the previous Bear Town.
  • (5/5)
    Amazing book, like I was there all the time, easy to listen.
  • (5/5)

    Incredible writer with the deepest knowledge of people and life.
  • (3/5)
    I’m afraid the narration was too heavy handed for my liking. The author seemed to think he was preaching to his readers, and that we were not clever enough to get the points he wanted us to take away from his book.

    Added to that, the story itself felt depressing. Two towns seem to think the only thing that matters is hockey played with brutality. It is surrounded by corruption and cynical politics, reminding me too much of recent American events.

    This is a sentimental story wrung out of one about complete lack of impulse control by many of its characters, including the towns themselves. Any incident can become a cause for bloodshed and mayhem, even before the facts are known.

    I have liked Backman’s other books better. They were more convincing about the goodness of the characters and felt less cynical. In this book love was used like seasoning in a stew that had a bitter taste.
  • (5/5)
    Great story! Emotional and thought provoking look into being human.