Beartown surprised me– I loved it.
I expected Backman’s new book to be entirely focused on hockey. Turns out, the important parts of this book have nothing to do with hockey. Beartown is about the blessings and tragedies that occur in a tight knit community over the course of an athletic season. I hate to do a quote dump here, but Backman’s writing really tempts me (sorry).
“There are two things particularly good at reminding us how old we are: children and sports” (37).
“The only thing that sport gives us are moments. But what the hell is life apart from moments?” (109).
“People say she’s gone made, because that’s what people who know nothing at all about loneliness call it” (139).
“Sometimes, when it seriously hurt on the outside, it hurt a little bit less in other places” (276).
“The love a parent feels for a child is strange. There is a starting point to our love for everyone else, but not this person. This one we have always loved, we loved them even before they existed. No matter how well prepared they are, all moms and dads experience a moment of total shock. It’s incomprehensible because there’s nothing to compare it to. It’s like trying to describe sand between your toes or snowflakes on your tongue to someone who’s lived their whole life in a dark room. It sends the soul flying” (357).
“Another morning comes. It always does. Time always moves at the same rate. Only feelings have different speeds. Every day can mark a whole lifetime or a single heartbeat” (379).
“She won’t be under any illusions that love is simple; she will have made a lot of mistakes and felt a lot of pain, and she will know that her husband has too. But when he looks at her, he sees her, deep down inside of her, and even if he isn’t perfect, he is for her” (409).