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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman #bookreview

'Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.' 

Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest.

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together - or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who'll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

No one can stand by or stay silent. You're on one side or another.

Which side will you find yourself on?


I love how sometimes the simplest of ideas make for the best kind of stories, if they're written well. And this is an astonishing piece of storytelling and one that I am struggling to get out of my head!

'Late one evening, toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead, and pulled the trigger. 

This is the story of how we got there.'

This is the quote that lured me into this book! That and knowing it is from the author who charmed my world with A Man Called Ove. But this is nothing like that book and just proves what a wonderful storyteller Fredrik Backman is.

The story is simple and revolves around a town that is obsessed with hockey. Every aspect of the town and its' inhabitants are governed by the success of the hockey team. It is what brings the small town in a large swedish forest together - and how it can also tear them apart when sides have to be chosen.

It is difficult to review the story without adding spoilers so i won't focus too much on the plot of which I knew very little about, and I think that is the best way to enjoy this book. The less you know beforehand, the better! So I will focus on the storytelling which starts off slowly and flits from character to character, telling you snippets of how they fit into Beartown - from the teenagers on the hockey team, to the coach, to the sponsors,to the parents - and this helps slowly build up a picture of just how much Hockey is at the heart of the town. So you can't help but be drawn in as a reader so that you become a fly on the wall of every house, training pitch, garden etc while the author puts the pieces together to lead up to the events of 'that day'.

I just couldn't put this book down once I had started reading it as I didn't want to miss anything - from the simplicity of everyday life, to the harrowing consequences of a night gone wrong and I found it to be so powerful and absorbing. It is a wonderful insight on family and community dynamics, and it is often not an easy read because of some of the subject matter where it pulls no punches and that just adds to the impact it had on me as a reader.

One of my books of 2017 - a MUST read!!

Thankyou to Netgalley and the publishers for the copy in return for a fair and honest review


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