Britt-Marie was here by Fredrik Backman
I picked up this book because it is by the same author as A Man Called Ove which I quite enjoyed. This book is all about Britt-Marie who essentially has to rebuild her life after she leaves her cheating husband. The only problem is that she’s not exactly young and she doesn’t have a lot of experience doing anything except cooking and cleaning. Somehow she finds a job as the caretaker of a recreation center in the tiniest town and (well organized) chaos ensues.
Like his other book, I was really struck by how well Backman writes characters. Britt-Marie is very rigid. Everything must be done a particular way and to do otherwise is terrible. I really enjoyed her narration. It’s so amusing. She exhales deeply which is definitely not a sigh and she would never dare call someone fat because she doesn’t judge people etc. Like Ove she’s a character that at first you may not like very much (because really, she’s super socially awkward and her behavior is just odd) but by the end of the book I think you’ll really love her (I know I did).
Also the side characters are really well thought out. Even the ones that we don’t see very much. They all are very complex and it’s rather refreshing. None of the characters are one dimensional and I ended up enjoying basically all of the characters because I can understand where they are coming from. Also I found it really interesting that one character is literally called Someone the entire book because she never introduced herself. So yes, I liked the characters in this book (except for maybe her kinda creepy husband).
It should be mentioned that a lot of this book centers around soccer (or as the rest of the world calls it, football). The kids in the town want to play in a soccer cup (or championship, I’m not really sure). Britt-Marie starts off hating soccer and then the kids want her to be their coach. Sorry if i’m giving too much away. I’ll try and stop.
Oh, also I’m assuming it is set in Sweden (the author is Swedish) and at one point they talk about speaking English and how she feels uncomfortable speaking English and for a moment I was really confused because in my head the whole thing was in English but actually it’s probably in Swedish.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and the characters and plot (although it’s mostly a character driven book). My biggest problem with the book was probably the ending. Unlike Ove where I really liked the ending, this book’s ending left me rather confused. I think I understand what the author was trying to do and maybe I wasn’t paying very much attention when I read it, but it seemed like the last little bit of the book was rushed and confusing. It all basically made sense to me until literally the very end when I went ‘huh?’ and had to google what actually happened.
I definitely enjoyed this book. I liked the world and the characters and it all felt very real but the ending was just a bit confusing for me. Although I ultimately liked the ending (once I figured out what had actually happened), I think it could have maybe been explained a bit better or something.
If you like interesting characters and cleaning (because then at least you have control over something) then I recommend this book.
#34 of 2017