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One must read "Beartown" first to appreciate the developments in this story. Sensitive character development and reflections on life in small town Scandinavia.
I enjoyed reading this novel very much and was pulled into the lives of the people living in this small community. Well written!!!! :)
Building off the characters and emotional depth of the preceding novel, Backman's latest is a powerful read that compels its audience to keep turning the pages, and to keep hoping that goodness will prevail.
Backman gets away with overblown, almost egotistical exposition prose because, in the end, he's a great writer. I wouldn't advise anyone else to try this narrative style. Even so, by half-way that fuel has run out and you wish he'd just get on with it.
The characters grow a little less than the first time around. The reader needs a little bit more suspension of disbelief, and Backman uses narrative misdirection so often that it leaves the audience dizzy and irritated. Yet, Us Against You is still a wonderful novel that brings a cold little town to life.
This was an amazing book, I have loved all the Frederick Bachman books but this one was simply the best.
Unlike Fox Larkin I can't help but think that this is a more natural depiction of people than when we are trying to be our more benevolent selves. Just look around at who leads many of the countries in the world and what they stand for as men. More and more it is about the win at any cost. Ethics and humanity are pretty much just words without real meaning.
Fredrik Backman just gets better and better.
The agony within and amongst the characters and the suspense of the plot made it difficult for me to put this one down.
While some may disagree, IMO, a tremendous author whose every word counts. Without a doubt, Beartown's characters are tortured souls whose worlds revolve around small town hockey whether they want them to or not and, yet, they somehow survive. Mr. Backman immerses the reader deeply into each character's mind and emotions and forces you to not only feel what each individual felt, but to understand and empathize as well. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that while the back and forth time sequences could be confusing, choppy, and hard to follow at times......that some of the passages were not too clear as to whom or what event he was referring, I still was moved beyond words at the raw emotions this book evoked. Even though the beginning of the book did rehash some of the events of Beartown, it was a good reminder for me of what had previously transpired.....but remember also that if someone reads this book before Beartown, they would not have the insight as to the where and why of the characters. Bottom line is that Mr. Backman is tops on my list of authors and his work is unbeatable.
I loved Beartown, the prequel to Us Against You: was looking forward to meeting the friends I made in the first novel: I was truly disappointed. My main objection: the intensity of the animosity between the town, between the characters themselves: the simplicity of the political corruption depicted. This novel simply just didn't work for me.
A review of a Fredrik Backman book in the Green Valley News (Arizona) said " Backman is the Dickens of our age, and though you'll cry, your heart is safe in his hands. "
Never is that more true than with Us Against You. It is an emotional roller coaster as the reader identifies with the angst, the pity, the joy, the "Us Against You" mentality which we too easily see and endure today. Just when you think Fredrik Backman can't or won't hurt us again, can't or won't make us ever soar again, he does.
There are so many wonderful, profound passages in Us Against You I couldn't keep up with my slips of paper marking them all.
"What are we prepared to do for our children at that moment? What aren't we prepared to do?
But the years whistle past. Fathers need to live in the moment; general managers are never allowed to. Fathers need to seize the day, because childhoods are like soap bubbles; you only get a few seconds to enjoy them."
"Deep down inside most of us would like all stories to be simple, because we want real life to be like that, too. But communities are like ice, not water. They don't suddenly flow in s new direction because you ask them to, they change inch by inch, like glaciers. Sometimes they don't move at all."
Us Against You is the follow-up to Beartown that NEEDED to be written.
"Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did. We'll end up saying that violence came to Beartown this summer, but that will be a lie; the violence was already here. Because sometimes hating one another is so easy that it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.
This has been a story about ice rinks and all the hearts that beat in and around them. About people and sports and how sometimes they take turns carrying each other. About us, dreaming and fighting. Some have fallen in love and some have been destroyed; we've had good days and some very bad ones. Beartown has cheered but it has also started to smolder. Things were heading toward a terrible explosion.
A few girls made us proud, a few boys made us great. A car drove too fast through the night. We'll say it was a road accident, but accidents are quirks of fate, and we will know that we could have prevented this one. This one will be someone else's fault, Many peoples fault. Our fault."
Beartown left us uncomfortable; it left us unsettled in our sadness. Us Against You validates our sadness and shows us the painful yet somehow hopeful way out, the way we all survive:
And the sun rises. Tomorrow, again.
I'm not entirely sure if we need a Beartown 3, but we'll discover we absolutely did need one if Fredrik Backman blesses us with another.
Everyone gets a stick. Two nets. Two teams. Us against you.
5 stars, wishing there were more to grant.
After reading Beartown, I was persuaded against my better judgement to read this one. I wish I hadn't bothered. This could have been a very good story about two towns that let a hockey rivalry get tragically out of hand. It could even have been great if the author had stuck to that. Instead, he turned it into a simplistic morality play. His first book, Beartown, teetered on the edge of that mistake, while this book jumped enthusiastically into the abyss with both feet. I would like to get a chance to tell the author how much I hate being preached at. Just tell me a good story.
The next book in the Beartown trilogy, Us Against You had me sad the entire ride because so much of the end of beartown is in the future, beyond the year that this story takes place in, so all the characters that I love hurt my heart even more.
Written in Backman's present/future way, Us Against You is beautiful, tragic, timely, haunting, and full of love and heartbreak.
I thought it was very well written but it was just too much and too long and just so in-depth.
How do you even begin to describe a book like this one...I still have a lump in my throat thinking about it...
A sequel to the amazing Beartown, this book makes you think long and hard about loyalty, competition, love, ambition, family, friendship and sport. It’s a book about hockey, yes, but it’s so much more than that.
Unforgettable characters Maya, Benji, Bobo, Amat, Ana, Ramona, Zackell, Teemu, Kira, Ann-Katrin….and on and on. Each character is portrayed in a realistic way, with heart wrenching, touching, honest scenes for them all. None of them are perfect, but they are all perfectly human.
Pros: Fredrick Backman’s ability to write such lyrical, touching, insightful prose astounds me...
Cons: I will admit that it took a little longer to get into this book than the last...the lives of the politicians are not nearly as interesting as those in the hockey world...but still...I was moved to tears so many times in this book and I wanted it to go on and on.
If you loved Beartown, you will love Us Against You. I will read anything this author writes.
I loved "Bear Town" and was eager to read the sequel. I didn't enjoy this one. The first 1/3 of the book was a recap of the last book. The remainder of the book was just downright depressing and kept getting worse. I don't need every story to be happy, but I thought a lot of the story line was unnecessary.
What a read !
I have been impressed by Fredrik Bachman before, specifically: My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry, but this takes the prize. Regardless of the fact that I have zero interest in the game of hockey, Fredrik makes these characters come alive so vividly that I readily chowed this down within the week's allotted time frame. Just wanting to mention how accurately this story conveys the politics of the heart on many levels.
Best - Stacia
Agreeing with feedback... I loved Beartown and struggled with this. It was not how he used one character from a previous novel (Brit Marie from My Grandmother Asked Me...) to form a whole new novel and storyline. Us Against You spends the first 100 pages recapping Beartown and the rest stuck in his prior novel. That being said, he is the best new story-teller and I still enjoyed the book. But a big let-down compared to his prior works. Hoping for some fresh material in the future.
I enjoyed Beartown, but this novel read like a repeat of the same story, 5 minutes later. Disappointed!
This is the follow-up book of Beartown. I really enjoyed the first book and was excited to get into this one (although, truth be told, I didn’t have overly high expectations because I was worried the first would be hard to top - sequels always tend to fall a bit short in my eyes). I started it on our plane ride to Hawaii, and, I’ve gotta say, I sort of wanted the flight to be longer so I could finish it. I wouldn’t say it was as amazing as the first (mostly because I felt like there was so much going on it was hard to dive into all of the different characters and story lines as much as I would have liked), but I definitely liked it. I really enjoy the foreshadowing done throughout the book that keeps me on my toes (the author sets you up for an event and then it happens to someone you weren’t expecting). And seeing as hockey season just started, I think it was perfect timing for me to pick up this book. I would give it a 9 out of 10.
Backman's regular attempts at philosophy and constant foreshadowing of events (with spoilers!) made it hard for me to get through this book. I did hang in to the end only because he managed to create an interesting story with characters I cared enough about to see where the story took them.
"Beartown" is the book preceding this one. For some reason, Backman felt it wasn't enough to make some scattered references to what took place in that book; he takes a full third of this book to rehash and philosophize about the former story. Then he carries on with "the rest of the story." I had to take away a star from this very good book because of how arduous and wearying it was to read that beginning third part. Again, the editors seem to give writers a free hand once they knock off a few winners. Aside from that, Backman fans will find this a rewarding read.
Fredrik Backman can do no wrong in my eyes. I love his writing. I love his stories. I love his characters. I love his novels!