80. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman has become my favourite author this year. The guy knows how to tug at the reader’s emotions and opinions by keeping his stories simple yet immensely profound! Britt-Marie Was Here is just one of those remarkable stories that shows you super heroes don’t just exist in DC or Marvel universes; but can be found among us in the form of cops who work to see justice, older brothers who step in when parents fail, and in weird-old-nagging-women who believe in the power of fixing everything through sodium bicarbonate.

“You can’t change Britt-Marie’s way of seeing the world. Because once Britt-Marie has taken a position on the world there’s no changing her.”

Summary:

The story is about a 63 year old lady called Britt-Marie who has spent so many years in service of and being there for other people that for once she thinks it is time to do her own thing. Eventually, Britt (only her sister calls her that) goes to an Unemployment office to find a job with prior experience of working as a waitress in 1978. However, she soon makes up by mentioning her work being employed by her successful-entrepreneur of a  husband, by maintaining his house and bringing up his children from his first wife.

“A few years turned into more years, and more years turned into all years. It’s not that Britt-Marie chose not to have any expectations, she just woke up one morning and realised they were past their sell-by date.”

Soon enough, Britt-Marie finds a position as a caretaker for a recreation center at Borg – this community built along a road where everything is closing down. After being hit by the financial crisis the people slowly started leaving which resulted in businesses being closed down, except for the Pizza place – which also happens to be the post office and store – and the recreation place.

“The winter requires whoever is doing the watering to have a bit of faith in order to believe that what looks empty has every potential. Britt-Marie no longer knows whether she has faith or just hope. Maybe neither.”

Eventually, our heroine finds herself coaching an amateur football team with zero expertise or even knowledge of how football works, find herself getting involved with the people whom she is impacting more than she can imagine, and eventually realizing that she won’t die alone. Britt-Marie makes a place in the hearts of the kids, parents, and old people of a town that remains invisible to the world, but not to Britt- Marie.

“You love football because it’s instinctive. If a ball comes rolling down the street you give it a punt. You love it for the same reason that you fall in love. Because you don’t know how to avoid it.”

Review:

When I first read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman I was blown away. I loved that book to bits as I mentioned in my review and although this book may not be as impactful as A Man Called Ove but I swear it was exceptional in its own way.

“… life is more than shoes you feet are in. More than the person you are. It’s togetherness. The parts of yourself in another. ”

The beauty of this book lies in how life can give you a restart or a second chance if you’re up for it; through ways you never even could imagine. Fredrik Backman showed how infectious the passion and craze for football is shared over the world for their respective clubs and inviting anyone to share it.

“If you have a dad who supports Liverpool you always think you can turn anything around. You know! Ever since that Champion League final.”

Despite, showing the various idiosyncrasies and weird habits of Britt-Marie, the power of a community and sense of unity was beautifully narrated. I honestly was sobbing and laughing through this short book and, ended up feeling content and full. We often believe life ends at a certain number, but this book proved it 298 pages that it can begin anywhere at any time.

Onto the Basics:

  1. Rating: 4.5/5.0(because it wasn’t long enough)
  2. Favorite quote: “All passion is childish. It’s banal and naive. It’s nothing we learn, it’s instinctive, and so it overwhelms us. Overturns us… that is the reason why passion is worth something, not for what is gives us but for what it demands that we risk.”
  3. Reader level: Easy.
  4. Should you read:  Yes, yes, yes.
  5. Would I read it again: 110%! I’m reading this again.

Till next time,

-Sarah

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