BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE by Fredrik Backman
Published; May 3rd 2016, Atria Books
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.
When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?
This was my third Fredrick Backman and he is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. As a relatively new author I am surprised he wasn’t snapped up by a publisher long ago. He writes characters that feel so real you feel every emotion along with them.
Britt-Marie first makes an appearance in My Grandmother sends her regards and I highly recommend you read that first to really understand her story in Britt-Marie was here. I loved this story, how Britt-Marie believes that if she waits long enough she will get exactly what she wants and how she learns to be her own person after relying on her husband to tell her what to do and how to feel. I also loved how the people of Borg, who are all completely different yet so alike except Britt-Marie without a whole lot of fuss.
As I said earlier, the characters are so well written that you can see them so clearly as you read. Although you think this story is going to be happy ever after, which I suppose in a way it is, Fredrick doesn’t make it an easy road to get there. Of course there is heartbreak and some really emotional moments that put you through the ringer but it is mixed with laugh out loud moments and those all important moments that make you go awww.
I completely lost myself in this book, I couldn’t put it down and found myself sneaking time to read when I should have been busy doing other things. It is different to the books I usually read but a real enjoyable read for me and I am definitely going to be reading the rest of Fredrick’s work. I can honestly say this is one of my favourite reads of this year and I can’t wait to see if the other books make it into my favourites for next year. I have a feeling that they may.
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