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Fredrik Backman's Britt-Marie Was Here

Backman BMWHHappily, here is the newest book (published May 3, 2016) from Fredrik Backman, author of <i>A Man Called Ove</i>.

The main character, Britt-Marie, was a minor character in Backman’s previous book <i>My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry</i>, and you don’t need to read them in any order. As the book opens, Britt-Marie finds herself at an unexpected turning point in her otherwise orderly and clean life.

When her husband Kent has a heart attack in his young mistress’s bed, Britt-Marie decides it’s time to move on.

She turns to the Swedish social services agency that helps people find work, and secures a temporary job at the community center in the tiny town of Borg. What exactly she is supposed to be doing there is unclear, so, when in doubt, Britt-Marie brings order by cleaning.

Vigorously, and almost obsessively, cleaning.

The community center is next to the pizza parlor which is also the bar, car repair center and makeshift post office, all overseen by a wheelchair bound beer swilling woman referred to as “Somebody”. Other than these establishments, Borg is a dying town. Except for the youth, who play soccer; they don’t have a proper soccer pitch, goal posts, or a coach, but gather every evening to kick the ball around, illuminated by the headlights of a car.

When they descend on Britt-Marie’s quiet and cleanliness and talk her into being their coach, everything changes! She comes into her own, showing spunk and determination that had been subverted for too long. By the end of the book, the title makes the reader wonder whether Britt – Marie will stay in Borg – or not! A great light read. 

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