Let’s Talk… Fredrik Backman

Wow… what an insane week! Firstly, a thank you to all the people who have stopped by, read my words, told me they will read him in the future, or just happened to come across my page. I am so proud of the work I have put into this week and the content that I have created. Thank you for making it worth it.

The question that I think most people are thinking: Why this guy? The truth: I found this guy about a year and a half ago on Goodreads. Beartown was one of those books that was immediately recommended for me, and I said “I’ll get around to it eventually”. Eventually became a year, and I was looking for books to listen to on Audible (because you can never have enough), and chose Beartown. I am so thankful I made that decision.

I first listened to Beartown in December 2018, and I have never stopped loving him since (in a completely platonic, I-have-never-met-you-but-I-will-have-your-babies-if-that’s-what-you-want type of way). I immediately jumped into Us Against You right after, and in January 2019, I listened to A Man Called Ove. Somewhere in all that I also read Deal of a Lifetime and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer. I didn’t read Britt-Marie Was Here or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry until I decided to make this week a thing.

Immediately, I knew this guy was legit. He found a way to talk about the world while still keeping humor and often times a childlike perspective. Speaking of, at some point this week I said that his stories often read like children’s books. Unless you are completely comfortable with your kids hearing curse words in their bedtime stories, maybe don’t read the novels to your kids (if I remember correctly, the short stories are clean, but don’t quote me on that). I don’t think I have read any of his stories that I haven’t had moments of laughter mixed in, even when the content is extremely deep and heavy. He’s just that good.

Writing-style-wise, I never felt like his books drag. If you read a lot, you know that so many books end up dragging in the middle and you have this moment where you decide if that drag was worth the reward. I never felt that drag, so the pay off to me was always more than worth it (how many more times can I say drag?). My one knock to his style is that he tends to say “oh btw, this book is going to feature someone dying” and so the whole time you sit there like “is this the time?” only for him to remind you AS SOON AS YOU FORGET so that you are on the edge of your seat again. As someone who reads a lot, I gotta give the guy credit, he kept me entertained, even if there were moments where I wanted to slap his stupid little face (P.S. I have no idea if he has a little face, and I also don’t know the IQ of his face) for teasing me like that. If that is the only knock you get as a writer, then I think you are doing something right. But that’s just me.

And look man, I make the rules in this joint, so I have been trying to find ways to still be authentic to why I wanted to start this blog while still finding ways to encourage viewership, and he was it. Thank you guys so much for sticking with me this week and my obnoxious amount of posts, and in turn, if there is ever an author you want me to focus on in the future, I got you (I’m probably going to regret that later). If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on Twitter/Facebook/ Instagram @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Beartown/ Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

Beartown: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]
Us Against You: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]

How I Read It: Ebook/ Audiobook

Dates Read:5/3/19-5/8/19

This duet is ROUGH, but incredible. TRIGGER WARNING: these books discuss rape culture in a graphic way. Read at your own volition.

These books follow the town of Beartown, where you play hockey or you are too old. After a semifinal game, a young girl is raped by the star player. The question becomes: do you sacrifice the team or the boy’s career in order to get justice, or is he too good to be punished? The second book discusses politics, and ultimately how easily politicians trick us to fit their agenda. With discussions into being LGBTQ in a small town, survivor’s guilt, and feminism, these books are 100% needed in today’s world.

I love it because 1) it discusses culture that is not only present, but extremely (sadly) real, and 2) they mimic how poorly small towns can deal with these types of issues. These are incredibly heavy books, not only in size but content, however the overall storytelling and content is so incredibly important that it is worth the read.

Storytime: These were the first books I read by Fredrik Backman. I genuinely had no idea that they would be this good, I just saw the recommendation on Goodreads and was like “yea, okay!”, and from there my life has changed. Truly, I love these books because they find a way to hit EVERY SINGLE THING that is happening in today’s society and says “hey, we are kinda pooping the bed at this point so here is what I have to say about it” and I respect it. If you want to read any book by Backman, read these. They are so incredibly important.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Side note: In January 2019, HBO Europe greenlit a miniseries on Beartown. I have zero clue as to when it will actually come out, only that it is in the works. I also have no idea how you would watch it in the US, but I will update you as I find out!

Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

The Deal of a Lifetime by [Backman, Fredrik]

How I Read It: Ebook

Dates Read: 4/25/19

This short story follows a man who would like to sacrifice his life for a little girl with cancer. It then follows that he has to see what he is really giving up, and if what he is going to lose is worth giving to the little girl. Essentially, it is a conversation of what are you willing to give up for the people you love, and at what point do you choose others over yourself. And while I don’t want to give you much more than that, I will say that Fredrik Backman has a really good way of talking about life in a general form while still hitting you right in the feels.

This story is only about 50 minutes on Audible and about 95 pages on Kindle, but half of that is a sneak peek of Beartown (which I will be reviewing Friday). If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella by [Backman, Fredrik]

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 4/25/19

Ugh…. I can’t. Why is this so good? I feel like at this point I need to give a little backstory on me real quick: I probably will develop dementia/Alzheimer’s. I have always said (at least since watching The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) that my worst fear is time, not that I don’t have enough, but that I don’t take advantage of the time I do have. To know that at some point in my life I probably will forget my parents, my partner, my children, or even my life in general makes me want to appreciate all of those moments and people more.

With all that being said, my only extremely close relationship with dementia was my grandmother. She slowly started to think that I was my mother, that my mother was her mother, and in the end, she began to think I was just someone who stopped by occasionally to talk about her past and my present. It broke my heart to see her slowly lose her memories, and at one point in my life I wanted to work in a nursing home to help other people in her position.

Bringing it back to the story, this novella follows a grandfather and his grandson, Noah. After a boating accident, the grandfather is trying to explain what is going on in his head and how hard it is for him to return to “home”, or reality.

This book is only about an hour on Audible or about 100 pages on Kindle. It is an incredibly short read, but it is so powerful and important and beautiful and ugh, I’m not crying I promise. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]

How I Read It: Ebook/Audiobook

Dates Read: 4/30/19-5/2/19

If you have read My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, then you know that Britt-Marie is a character in that book. This book stands alone, but is also based on that same character.

This book is about Britt-Marie. She is a control freak in the simplest terms, with a complete lack of understanding of the world. After she leaves her husband, she seeks a job at the unemployment office. She gets a job in a super small town called Borg as the recreational office caretaker, but quickly the job becomes more than she can imagine. Through soccer and small town values, Britt-Marie finds herself out of her comfort zone as she begins to find herself.

The life lesson I pulled out of this one is to not be afraid to jump. I think that, especially now when we all have a shield in our hands in the form of a phone, we all hide from life. But here’s the thing, life is going to come whether you are ready or not. The question becomes: are you going to go along with it, or are you going to watch it go by?

There is also this interesting conversation of loyalty. While this book talks about loyalty to a soccer team, and what that says about you, this book also delves into the notion of sacrifice in the name of loyalty. Do you let your reputation get ruined because of the company you keep? Do you sacrifice your career for people you care about? So many ethical questions circle around this notion, and it was insane to me how many of the characters are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of loyalty. THIS is the reason why I love small towns.

To be completely honest, not my favorite out of the ones he has written, but it still had me laughing, in tears, and laughing again. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas on this book or the blog in general, feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World by [Backman, Fredrik]

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 5/7/19

Hi to any of my coworkers that may be wondering why I sat in my car with the music real loud, this is why! So to be completely honest, I was the most nervous for this post. Not only was it the first time I am putting a review out the same day the book came out (because I hate myself), but it also was the first book by Backman that was (as far as I knew) not fiction. Crossing my fingers that this would all work out, I put all my heart and soul into this week hoping that this book wouldn’t mess up everything.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t. If anything, it just made me love him more.

So this book is about what it is like to be a parent. I’m not talking all the other parents who make it seem like they know exactly what they are doing, I mean real parenting. The type of parenting where you mess up and hope to God that you don’t screw up your kid. Now I’m not a parent unless you count my ray-of-sunshine-definitely-not-a-pain-in-my-butt 5-month-old golden retriever, but I absolutely loved the stories that he chose to tell. And while writing a book like this is kinda a crap-shoot because you never know if your kid is actually going to like hearing these really personal stories that you told to millions of people (especially about the amount of poop you create), but I can’t imagine a funnier, lovable, or enjoyable person to write it. You will laugh, you will (almost) cry (I have just enough dignity to not cry at work, but only just), and the cycle will keep going, but you will never be disappointed. So Fredrik Backman, if you ever come across this review, please know how thankful I am to read your words (well, translated words) and share them with others.

If you guys have thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by [Backman, Fredrik]

How I Read It: Ebook

Dates Read: 4/26/19-4/27/19

This book focuses on the topic of suicide and the grieving process. Specifically, this book lists multiple ways to commit suicide, so if that is a trigger for you, read at your own risk. With that being said, I truly think this book is so incredibly important and here’s why:

This book aptly follows a man called Ove, who is a very crotchety man with quite a few opinions. Following the death of his wife and a lay-off at work, Ove no longer has anything tying himself to this Earth. In the process of trying to commit suicide, something goes wrong that he has to fix. This pattern repeats itself, causing Ove to go outside of himself and farther into his neighbor’s lives.

I love this book purely because it says “hey, you could commit suicide, but there are people here that really need you to stick around”. And listen, this guy was completely alone. His wife is dead, he lost his job, and all of his constants in his life are there, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t serve a purpose. I love the positive message this book imposes despite the morbid backbone.

This book is also a really good example of why I love Fredrik Backman. He has this tendency to be able to talk about some of the worst things in today’s society while still managing to make it funny and/or childlike (I will go more in depth with this on Saturday). It amazes me how much I laughed in a book about suicide.

With all that being said, if you or someone you know are considering suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org to talk to someone who can help you.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas on this book or the blog in general, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!

(P.S. There is a Swedish adaptation of this movie which is free on Amazon Prime. There is supposedly an English adaptation starring Tom Hanks in the works, but I have yet to see any dates as to when that movie can be expected.)

(P.P.S. I watched the Swedish adaptation last night. It matched the book so incredibly well, while also being incredibly smart about their planning. I highly recommend you watch it if you don’t want to read the book (although why wouldn’t you?))