By Fredrik Backman
Washington Square Press, 9781501160776, February 2018, 432pp.
The Short of It:
A small town finds community in the sport of hockey but it’s more than a sport for most of the players and coaches.
The Rest of It:
There is a big match coming up for this small town hockey club and it’s literally all hands on deck and the club decides that their only option is winning. Just win. That is the instruction that the boys are given and that’s what they intend to do. The on-ice ribbing of weaker players and the forced acceptance of a younger player into their immediate circle causes quite a bit of friction. To add fuel to the fire, coaches are being moved around and managers are encouraged to retire no matter how many years they’ve been in the club.
As Backman pulls us in with compelling characters and colorful town folk, the behavior and actions of one player, their star player, puts a damper on the pre-game excitement when he commits a crime. His punishment could cost them the win. As the town is divided over what to do, tensions rise and suddenly the game doesn’t seem as important as it once was.
I have read Backman before but I wasn’t prepared the the darkness of this story. I was just skating along, enjoying the healthy competition of the boys and their excitement over the game but then wham, you turn a corner and it gets very serious, quickly.
I know people who have loved this book and cried buckets of tears while reading it but I didn’t even tear up. I was angry and irritated and felt that I wasn’t prepared for where the story went. I know that it’s part of a series and that the new book hits in October, I believe, but now I am not sure I want to read the others. Someone convince me.
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