My reading time is usually filled with local’s Louise Erdrich novels from her Birchbark Books, a selection of Michigan authors from Brilliant Books on our annual pilgrimage to the family cottage, and a long list of social justice/theological books (a few more should be arriving today).
I picked up Backman’s Beartown for the hockey theme. We’re a #hockeyfamily afterall, with two kids playing September to March, my husband always coaching both teams, and a few other times in between. Our daughter has now even started playing goalie…something that seems to be in her blood (but neither of us grew up playing the game!).
It took me awhile to get to Beartown. But when I did, it easily could have easily been located somewhere in northern Minnesota as Scandinavia. The dynamics of the sport, small towns, families, parenting…ring so close to home.
How the lives of parents and children are so entangled, yet so separate. How as adults, we underestimate the complexity and abilities of children and teenagers…even when we ourselves have lived through it. And how, as communities, we as a collective have much more influence over our youth than we like to admit we have.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, for those looking for a beach read.
This is a book for those looking to grow, to reflect, to embrace what is happening in their own community, but need encouragement by looking at it from a different angle.
While this book is a work of fiction, it is also true.
Nothing in Beartown hasn’t happened somewhere else. Nothing in Beartown hasn’t played out in someone’s life that you know…just maybe not on the ice.
In the midst of snowplow parent scandals and increasing suicide rates for youth & young adults, Beartown provides us with a reflection of us.
When our kids, on the ice or off, approach the line…what do we do? And how should we do it differently?