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
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.
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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