Blurb from Goodreads
‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled 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.’
Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest.
For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart.
Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner.
Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.
No one can stand by or stay silent. You’re on one side or another.
Which side will you find yourself on?
‘The Scandal’ is what ‘Beartown’ was called here when I bought it in hardback in 2017. Personally I prefer the original name and am scratching my head as to why either the publishers or author (or both) felt the need to change it as ‘The Scandal’ sounds tackier and is only really relevant to half the book whereas the title ‘Beartown’ is more apt as it focuses on the community theme of this book.
When I read this during Christmas 2017 it had an average rating of 4.47 among my Goodreads friends and therefore I was expecting great things…
So I have just one (polite) question to ask to anyone who has rated this highly… Yes warning, there is an unpopular opinion coming right up lol!!
So yes… I want to know if I read the same book as everyone else because wow I did not like this at all!!!
To me it was nothing more than a piece of overblown, overwrought drama.
Okay I can see why people might like how this small community closes ranks around this scandal but I’ve read better books about communities. Books that find a harmony of prose from the many voices within a town… (e.g. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor)
This was clunky. It was a book that had one or two moving quotes but most of the ideas behind the prose felt stale to me.
Without wishing to spoil the plot I have also read much better books about the events behind the scandal, about justice, vengeance…
To use a favourite sports term this was very much a book of two halves.
The first half made me want to stab myself in the eyeball from the tedium.
And the second, while it certainly picked up the pace, still petered out into a sort of maudlin analysis of the human condition.
And that ending….
*eye FREAKING roll*
Nope. No and nope again
One star for the first half, maybe three for the second if I’m feeling charitable….
But I’m not. Because days (and now years) later I am still annoyed about this ridiculous book.
So on average One and a half stars