Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

June 8th, 2016 kimbacaffeinate Review 70 Comments

8th Jun
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Narrator: Joan Walker
Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Genres: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher, BEA
Purchase: Amazon | Audible | B&N
Goodreads
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we are capable of doing.

2016 Fave Humor refreshing Small-town well written

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman was on my wish list  for BEA 2016. I was delighted to receive a signed copy. When an opportunity to review the audio came along, and I heard the delightful voice of Joan Walker I decided to listen first. I am so grateful that I did. Britt-Marie Was Here is going on my top ten audio listens for 2016. Brilliant, heart-warming, funny, and poignant, Fredrik Backman shows that anyone can change, even a stubborn, set in her ways young woman like sixty-three year old Britt-Marie.

Five reasons to grab your earbuds and listen to Britt-Marie Was Here

  • The story begins when sixty-three year old Britt-Marie no longer able to ignore her husband’s infidelities packs up and leaves after forty years of marriage.  Britt-Marie is a creäture of habit, whose self-esteem was wiped out long ago by her husband’s patronizing. What begins is a lot of first for Britt-Marie. She seeks employment for the first time, lives on her own, has to make decisions and make new friends as she finds herself living in a depressed town called Borg.
  • When I tell you, I adored Britt-Marie it is an understatement. When she is stressed she cleans and cleans all of which made me laugh aloud. She is curious, cautious and lord how I enjoyed her! Her OCD tendencies, HER LISTS, and need for things to be PROPER were brilliantly captured. I saw myself cleaning when upset and identified with her feelings.  Britt-Marie is lonely and has been for a very long time. In this story, she spreads her wings and must choose between the comforts of familiarity and the chance for happiness.
  • Through a clerk at the job center Britt-Marie lands a job of sorts in the hamlet of Borg at the recreation center. Upon arrival, she is immediately struck in the head by a football (soccer ball) and thus her relationship with the unattended youth in Borg begins. Backman brought this hamlet to life sharing their daily struggles and love of football as she fleshed out the characters who will eventually wiggled their way into my heart.
  • Humorous, poignant, and beautifully written Fredrik Backman brought the world around Britt-Marie to life, allowing us to relate to the characters, cheer for the underdog and watch Britt-Marie blossom. Through his characters, he shares a story of life, love, loss and our strong desire to be needed.
  • While I will cherish my signed copy, Joan Walkers narration brought this story to life in vivid 3-D. It highlighted Britt-Marie’s quirks and deadpan humor. Walker captured the tone and emotions of the characters enhancing my enjoyment of the story. I devoured this and found listening completely addictive.

For those of us stuck in a rut, not yet achieving our dreams Backman gives us hope.  Through Britt-Marie we discover that you are never too old to learn, grow, and change.  Britt-Marie Was Here is a must listen/read and one I hope you add it to your bookshelf.

 

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About Joan Walker

Joan Walker

Joan has 30 years of experience as an actor, enjoying all aspects of work including audiobooks, commercials, radio drama, TV, theatre and film. Following a degree in psychology and maths, she decided to go for the fun options in life. Recent theatre work includes a world tour of ‘Mamma Mia’ playing the man-eating Tanya, Lady Fancyfull the ditzy schemer in ‘The Provok’d Wife’ at Greenwich Theatre and Ingrid in ‘The Tide’ at The Soho Theatre. Favourite roles for BBC Radio Drama include Dorothy Parker in ‘Regret is No Part of My Plan’ for Radio 4, Madame Beck in ‘Villette’ for Radio 4 and the Voice of God in ‘The Piper Alpha Disaster’ for Radio 3. She has researched and presented a 6 part Pure Maths series for BBC Open University – still viewable if you’re an insomniac. She is currently narrating ‘Obla Air’ – a learn English series for the British Council. Born and raised on a dairy farm in Derbyshire Joan has a magnificent can-do approach to life.

About Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman, a blogger and columnist, is the bestselling author of My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and A Man Called Ove. Both were number one bestsellers in his native Sweden and are being published around the world in more than thirty-five languages.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads everything fiction in YA, NA, and Adult. She's a self-professed Whovian, Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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70 Responses to “Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman”

  1. Leona

    So glad you enjoyed this read. The one question that came to mind when talking about Britt-Marie’s husband’s infidelity was “Could he eve get it up anymore?” I mean if she was 63 he had to be around that age LMBO!! When I start to get the urge to branch out into different genres I will definitely look at this story as a candidate.
    Leona recently posted…Faded Off A Thug by ThaiMy Profile

  2. Emma

    This isn’t a book I would normally pick up but you have convinced me it’s one I need to read. I often find these books can be a little overly sentimental but this doesn’t sound that way. I like that it sounds fun and heart warming.
    Emma recently posted…Tuesday Intro: Closed Circles by Viveca StenMy Profile

  3. Nick

    Aww man! I can’t even imagine living with a guy that long knowing well he was cheating. I’m glad that the MC took the step though to get out of that marriage even if it’s later in life. I love that she cleans when she’s stressed. I wish I could get like that. I’m the opposite!
    I’m happy to see this was such a great read for you, Kim.
    Lovely review! 🙂
    Nick recently posted…Review: Marrying Winterborne by Lisa KleypasMy Profile

  4. Katherine

    This one is super high up on my TBR and I’ve been wanting to read Backman since A Man Called Ove. This sounds absolutely wonderful and and I love books about characters who really come into their own. And while I wouldn’t say I really identify with most of Britt-Marie’s qualities I can relate to the lists and cleaning when stressed! Great review!
    Katherine recently posted…Tea Cups and Carnage – Blog Tour Review + GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Jenny

    GO BRITT-MARIE!!!! Good for her finally making a much-needed change and leaving the worthless husband behind. I love her already for putting her foot down. And of course for her lists. I’m obsessed with lists and need them to survive each day:)
    Jenny recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: YesternightMy Profile

  6. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I loved A Man Called Ove, and I have the grandmother book, as well, but haven’t read it yet. I’ve been eyeing this one for a while; Britt-Marie sounds like a character I will love. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted…AUTHOR’S HOME PAGEMy Profile

  7. Tyler H. Jolley

    This sounds like a coming of age book, which is usually reserved for teens. This a refreshing take on it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Stephanie

    I have been in interested in this one and the points you highlighted clinched it for me. Whenever I am stressed cleaning my house always makes me feel better!
    Stephanie recently posted…Book Review: And AgainMy Profile