Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

Oh my god. This novel. I say this about a few books but this book in particular, it’s a gut shot, heart wrenching, and humbling. It follows a hockey team from the middle of nowhere in the midst of a brutal sexual assault. And it makes you reevaluate how you see rape & sexual violence.

My mom actually suggested this book because she wanted to get my insight into if the author actually did a good job surrounding hte subject matter. She thought he had but as anybody would, she wanted an insider’s perspective. And it opened a dialogue that was fantastic. This book is a critical read that will be tough at times to read and will pull on everything you instinctually know. But I promise it’ll be worth every page.

The author builds the characters up so that you really know and understand them before you even learn about the assault. Then the second of the novel is a gut punch on every page. It follows the intricacies of how we view and understand sexual assault. How we talk about it. ANd how we dismiss the victim statements while protecting the assailant. It’s a messed up system and you could be the perfect victim, yet you’ll still get the statements that you could have done something differently, you could have done something better to be more believed.

Bear Town hit close to home for me. Which is probably why it took me so long to finish it. I wanted to savour it, i wanted to appreciate it in the only way a fellow survivor could. This is heavy subject matter and I wanted to make sure I was in a mindset to appreciate it adequately. And though the first page alludes to the ending, you don’t see it full circle. You don’t anticipate what’ll happen, though you certainly can appreciate it.

Pick up this book anywhere books are sold. Challenge yourself in how you talk and think about sexual assault. Ask yourself if you would believe somebody if they told you a mutual friend had raped them. And see how you can change that narrative. You can start by picking up Bear Town. 


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