Beartown Summary & Study Guide

Fredrik Backman
This Study Guide consists of approximately 60 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Beartown.
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Beartown Summary & Study Guide Description

Beartown Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Beartown by Fredrik Backman.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Backman, Fredrik. Beartown. Atria Books, 2016.

In a small Swedish town called Beartown, the local juniors' hockey team is preparing for their semifinal game. The hockey team is the pride of the town, which is otherwise suffering a decline. People are out of work and local businesses are shuttering. At the hockey club, general manager Peter Andersson discusses with his colleagues the termination of the A-team coach, Sune, who will be replaced by the juniors' team coach, David, assuming his team wins the final game. Peter is distraught over this, as Sune has been a father figure to him. At home, Peter's daughter Maya strums her guitar and chats with her best friend Ana. Kevin Erdahl and Benji Ovich, best friends and stars of the team, prepare for the game. The team is missing something, however, and Sune discovers it while observing Amat, the fastest player on the younger boys' team, and Amat is promoted to playing with the juniors.

At school, the boys on the hockey team pick on a young teacher and get away with it because the hockey team's status is so elevated that no one will correct their behavior. A member of the team named Bobo picks on Amat in the locker room because his mother works at the ice rink. Kevin Erdahl approaches Amat and asks him if he knows Maya, and if she has a boyfriend.

Before the game, Peter stops in to visit Ramona, a sponsor of the hockey club and the owner of the local tavern where an ardent group of fans usually congregates. Kevin's parents drop him off at the game and do not stay and watch, they are going out of town. Amat tries to ask Maya out, but he is interrupted by Kevin, who asks her to come to his party after the game. Amat is invited too, as a member of the team. Beartown wins the hockey game, and at the after party everyone is drinking, except Benji, who quickly leaves to visit his sister in the nearby town of Hed. During the party, Maya goes upstairs to Kevin's room. Ana, believing she has been discarded by Maya in favor of Kevin, leaves the party. Kevin and Maya kiss, and he becomes sexually aggressive. He refuses to stop when she asks him to, and he rapes her. Amat, concerned about Maya and overhearing the struggle, walks in and witnesses this.

On his way back from Hed, Benji sees Maya, frightened and hiding in the woods. Benji confronts Kevin the next day about what he saw, and they quarrel. At practice, Kevin tells Amat that he did not see what he thought he saw. Benji does not come to practice. At the Andersson home, Maya burns the clothing she was wearing the prior night. Kira, Maya's mother, has a growing concern that something is wrong. Ana takes a walk with her dogs and sees Kevin, who looks frightened at her approach. She knows instantly what has happened, and she runs to comfort Maya.

Saturday, the day of the junior's final game, Ana convinces Maya to come forward about the rape. Maya is taken to the hospital for an examination, and Kevin is removed from the team's bus by police as it is about to leave for the game. Without their star player, Beartown loses. Ana sees disparaging remarks about Maya on social media asserting that she is lying and calling her terrible names. At the Erdahl house, Kevin's mother wonders if the allegation could be true.

Around town, the adults are also trying to discredit Maya, or simply refusing to speak up in her defense. At school, someone scrawls a sexist curse word on Maya's locker and a girl hits her with a bottle of milk in the cafeteria. Maya enters the restroom and smashes a mirror in anger. Benji hears this and enters, and tells her that he is no longer friends with Kevin. Kevin's mother discards Kevin's clothing and sheets from the night of the rape. Kevin's father, a sponsor of the hockey team, claims that Peter made up the allegation to get back at the club for firing Sune, and demands that Peter be fired. Kevin's father also visits Amat and attempts to bribe him to stay quiet about what he saw. Another sponsor of the team learns that the local government is rescinding their offer to build a new hockey academy in Beartown because of the rape allegation.

The hockey club president tells Peter there will be a vote among the sponsors and board members to decide if he will keep his job. A rock is thrown through Maya's window and Kira chases after the young perpetrators in her car, almost killing them. Maya asks Ana to teach her how to shoot her father's gun. Kevin's father visits Ramona's bar and tries to intimidate her into voting for Peter's termination. The boys from the hockey team threaten Amat to keep quiet. The vote is held at the hockey club, and Amat, undeterred, tells exactly what he saw. Peter's job is spared thanks to the votes of Ramona and her loyal hockey fans from the bar. David, the junior's coach, accepts a coaching position in nearby Hed, and it is assumed most of the players and sponsors will follow him.

The investigation into the rape is officially closed for lack of evidence, and Amat is beaten up by the team, except for one player, Bobo, who defends him. Maya takes Ana's father's gun into the woods where she knows Kevin usually runs. She pulls the gun on him and pulls the trigger, but it is not loaded. She just wanted him to be as frightened as she was. Benji, Bobo, and Amat launch a new era of Beartown hockey without Kevin and David and the others, complete with a girls' team run by Benji's sister.

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