Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

June 8th, 2016 Kimberly Review 70 Comments

8th Jun
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Britt-Marie Was Here
by Fredrik Backman
Narrator: Joan Walker
Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Genres: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher, BEA
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 4.5 cups of tea

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 well written refreshing

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 Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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

  1. Lani

    Thank you for this recommendation. I purchased the audiobook and I am thoroughly enjoying the book and the narration.

      • AngelErin

        Oh you haven’t read it yet?! I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought you had. I think you will love that one! Also, he has another book out, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry (I think that’s the title) and that one looks good as well.

  2. Lekeisha

    Added this to my list. I’m a lover of all things European Lit. I have yet to try anything by this author, but his books have been on my radar for a while.

  3. Verushka

    I’ve been enamoured of this title because it’s so out of the ordinary, but this is the first review of it I’ve read and I’m so thrilled it’s so good!

  4. Melanie Simmons

    This does sound like a fun read, even if it isn’t something I would normally read. I’ll have to add to my list if I can get unburied from my current list of ARCs. LOL

  5. Trish

    OMG Kim, this book is so me, the lists and the cleaning for therapy sounds way too familiar. It’s a must read for me now and I love how much you loved it! Thank you for drawing my attention to it as it wasn’t on my book radar at all 🙂

  6. Mary

    I liked this one and also A Man Called Ove. I listened to both and that increased my enjoyment.

  7. Deborah

    Wasn’t it great? Britt-Marie could easily have been annoying but Backman does a great job of making her very sympathetic!

  8. Sophia Rose

    I had no idea about this one and suddenly I want to read it. I love a story of hope and laughter about a gal getting a re-do at her age. Thanks, Kimberly!

  9. Penni

    I “applied” for the book on NetGalley and didn’t get approved. It looked very interesting. Thanks for the review. I will definitely try to get my hands on it.

  10. Kathy

    I’m so happy you enjoyed this one! I really want to be Britt-Marie when I’m 63. Great review as always. 🙂

  11. 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!

  12. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Sounds like an interesting character and one I would love to do on audio. I also think I need a character like this around, stress her out and then release her at my house. LOL Also, when I read the blurb I thought… well, that is why my dog wakes me up at the buttcrack of dawn… to prevent lunacy. LOL

  13. 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.

  14. Tonyalee

    This doesn’t sound like something I would ordinarily read, but after reading your review I think I may like it! Thanks! 🙂

  15. Karen Blue

    I am about half way through this book and really enjoying it so far. I am so with you on the character of Britt-Marie. I love her quirks. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. Great review!

  16. sherry fundin

    I am a lister too and I used to be a bit of a neat freak, but I have learned to prioritize since marrying Mr Wonderful. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

  17. 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!

  18. 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:)

  19. kindlemom1

    I’ve never even seen this one before Kim but I can tell how much you loved it and that is good enough for me. 😉

  20. 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!

  21. 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! 🙂

  22. Priscilla

    Ah, I remember this! Britt-Marie was briefly mentioned in Backman’s previous novel, My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises 😀

  23. 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.

  24. 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.