A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, January 9, 2017

Brit-Marie Was Here- by Fredrik Backman- Feature and Review


From the bestselling author of the “charming debut” (PeopleA Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

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 HereBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brit-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman is a 2016 Atria Books publication.

Believe it or not, this is my first novel by this author! I’ve heard so many wonderful things about his novels and can’t think of a better way to start off 2017 than by finally joining the Fredrik Backman club!

Brit-Marie was Here is just an all around wonderful story! I laughed, got angry, worried, and cried, but closed the book feeling like I’d been on a special journey with Britt-Marie in her quest for purpose, belonging and overdue self-discovery.

This novel is delightful and very quirky, with oddball characters, and situations, but underneath the humor there is an underlying seriousness, which explores relationships, loneliness, the desire to be needed and loved, appreciated, to make a real difference, and to matter to someone.

Britt-Marie is not exactly the warmest person in the world when we first meet her, but I still liked her. I knew immediately that she had OCD, which explains a great deal, but she’s also socially awkward.

She’s devoted her entire life to her husband, Kent, finding pleasure… or was it release? In keeping her house tidy, enjoying her balcony, and raising Kent’s children. She has no friendships, and everything in her life is orderly, clean, and on a perfectly timed schedule, until

Britt-Marie discovers her beloved Kent is having an affair. She simply walks away without a word. She begins looking for a job at the age of sixty-three, with no formal education and no work experience, in an economic down period.

However, she does manage to find temporary work at a recreation center, that is about to be shut down, in the small hamlet of ‘Borg’. This job, the town, and its residents will slowly draw Britt-Marie out of her shell, and will enrich her life via a string of wild adventures and through the game of soccer, a sport she initially resented and despised.

 This book is so adorable and sweet!!

There are so many poignant elements, themes, and life lessons to explore and think about. The characters are so well drawn, the language and prose is near perfect, as is the pacing and the hysterically funny, yet touching, razor sharp dialogue.

Britt-Marie is a character I will remember for a long time to come and am so happy I was able to meet her and experience her awakening and personal growth. I hope we can touch base with her again someday!!





Fredrik Backman, a blogger and columnist, is the New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE and MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY. Both were number one bestsellers in his native Sweden and around the world, and are being published in more than thirty five territories. His latest novel is BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE. He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children. Visit him online at his blog: FredrikBackman.com, on twitter @backmanland, or on instagram @backmansk.

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