People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded town. And that rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of the town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
A victory would send star player Kevin onto a brilliant professional future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. And it would justify the choice that Peter, the team’s general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Hers is a story no one wants to believe since the truth would mean the end of the dream. Accusations are made, and like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Never have a I loved a book so much that made me so angry. First glance this book is about hockey but it is about so much more than that. From the first chapter I was hooked. I mean how can you not get instantly hooked when a book starts by saying “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.” I mean HELLO! That is probably one of the best first chapters I have ever read. Short and simple yet pulls the reader in instantly. This is a completely different book than A Man Called Ove so if you are expecting a book like Ove you may be disappointed. In fact it is on the exact opposite spectrum.
I don’t want to give too much away but this book is a must read. It will make you extremely angry, especially if you are a woman, but it is worth it. I come from a baseball family, my father played professionally, so I know all about “locker room talk” and all that entails. This book accurately portrays the entitlement that some star athletes have. It is infuriating but unfortunately is forgiven a lot, especially in places where that sport is a big part of the culture of that town. Just be prepared to want to scream at some of these characters and their choices.
Sorry for all the quotes. I told you I loved this book! Ha!
“Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple. So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy.”
“Never trust people who don’t have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.”
“All adults have days when we feel completely drained. When we no longer know quite what we spend so much time fighting for, when reality and everyday worries overwhelm us and we wonder how much longer we’re going to be able to carry on. The wonderful thing is that we can all live through far more days like that without breaking than we think. The terrible thing is that we never know exactly how many.”
“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, depending on who you spend it with.”
“What an uncomfortable, terrible source of shame it is for the world that the victim is so often the one left with the most empathy for others.”
“You never have the sort of friends you have when you’re fifteen ever again. Even if you keep them for the rest of your life, it’s never the same as it was then.”
“Bitterness can be corrosive. It can rewrite your memories as if it were scrubbing a crime scene clean, until in the end you only remember what suits you of its causes.”
“There are few words that are harder to explain than “loyalty.” It’s always regarded as a positive characteristic, because a lot of people would say that many of the best things people do for each other occur precisely because of loyalty. The only problem is that many of the very worst things we do to each other occur because of the same thing.”
“She is told all the things she shouldn’t have done: She shouldn’t have waited so long before going to the police. She shouldn’t have gotten rid of the clothes she was wearing. Shouldn’t have showered. Shouldn’t have drunk alcohol. Shouldn’t have put herself in that situation. Shouldn’t have gone into the room, up the stairs, given him the impression. If only she hadn’t existed, then none of this would have happened, why didn’t she think of that?”
“The very worst events in life have that effect on a family: we always remember, more sharply than anything else, the last happy moments before everything fell apart.”
“Anything that grows closely enough to what it loves will eventually share the same roots. We can talk about loss, we can treat it and give it time, but biology still forces us to live according to certain rules: plants that are split down the middle don’t heal, they die.”