Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an advanced copy of Fredrik Backman's novel, Britt-Marie Was Here, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - Britt-Marie is having a crisis. Her husband Kent has suffered a heart-attack and she has received the bad news from her husband's mistress. Double-Whammy. Britt-Marie has spent her life a career homemaker, but after hearing about her husband's affair, she decides to leave him and look for a job. Although she has many skills, not many of them look appealing on paper, especially during a time when her country (Sweden) is in an economic crisis. Britt-Marie decides to take the only job offered, a low-paying, temporary position as a community center director in the impoverished town of Borg. Who will benefit more? A town in need of a new start or Britt-Marie?
LIKE- When I saw that Fredrik Backman had a new release and that I was approved for an advanced copy, I was thrilled. Backman's A Man Called Ove, is one of my all- time favorite books. Honestly, it was going to be hard for Backman to top, A Man Called Ove and even though, Britt-Marie Was Here is a wonderful book, it doesn't quite compete.
As with his character Ove, Britt-Marie has some big flaws. She's very particular about her methods of doing things and she's blunt in her criticism. However, these faults are quickly melted with her big heart that has been hidden under her tough exterior. I like how Britt-Marie is a strong character that takes control of her destiny. She's a fighter and her spirit affects change in other characters, even when their situations seem hopeless.
Backman has a wicked sense of humor which drives most of the story. I love stories that are able to find the balance between comedy/drama, light/dark. Backman is a master at this. When Britt-Marie Was Here takes a serious turn, it's like being slammed into a brick wall of emotions. It hits hard.
DISLIKE- It's not so much a dislike, rather a distance I felt due to my own lack of interest/understanding with regard to European football. It's called soccer in the book, but I think that might be a change for American readers. Much of the plot has to do with the children of the town struggling to keep their team going and I felt a tad clueless as I don't follow the game. Backman does explain it for non-fans, but I think the story would have been sweeter if it was something that interested me.
RECOMMEND- Yes! If you're a fan of Backman, this is a must and if you have not discovered him, what are you waiting for? Britt-Marie Was Here is a heartfelt story from a marvelous storyteller.