It has been a long time since a book both make me laugh and broke my heart. “Britt-Marie Was Here” did just that. If you loved Fredrik Blackman’s “A Man Called Ove” or “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry”, you will love this book.
Britt-Marie is a 60-something woman who walked away from her husband, Kent, and their loveless marriage of 40 years. She has taken a job as the caretaker of the soon to be closed recreation center in the down and out town of Borg. Britt-Marie can’t stand disorder.
Seeing a utensil drawer that is not organized correctly sends her into a tizzy. She feels that only crazy people sleep past 6 am and that dinner should be at the same time every day.
The town of Borg, hit by the economic downturn, has a few die-hard citizens who have not given up on the town. The one thing holding them together is the one thing Britt-Marie hates, soccer.
Notable characters in the town are, Somebody – the wheelchair bound proprietor of the only pizzeria left. Sami, a young man trying to raise is younger brother, Omar, and sister, Vega, after the death of their mother. Sven, the local policeman with a heart of gold. Her landlady, Bank, is mostly blind with a wicked sense of humor.
The children of Borg play soccer on an improvised field with cups as goal posts. Ever since their coach died, they have not had a legal “team” and therefore cold not play in any competitions. Somehow, Britt-Marie becomes their coach, much to her chagrin. Her hatred of soccer comes from the fact that her husband, Kent, ignored her completely during soccer season. With the help of Bank, who used to play soccer, the children of Borg enter a soccer cup.
Even though Britt-Marie’s husband Kent shows up she is torn between going home to her loveless marriage or staying in Borg. Has she finally found a place where she can make a difference? By agreeing to be the coach, she keeps the children of Borg from getting into trouble. When a friend of Sami’s puts on a mask and tries to rob the pizzeria, Britt-Marie and Sven try to keep Sami and Omar from getting revenge.
I don’t want to going any more details and ruin the book for you. The author, Fredrik Blackman, has a way of writing characters who seem unlikable but turn out to be completely different. I would suggest reading all three books.
Check your local library or independent bookstore for “A Man Called Ove” and “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” . “Britt-Marie Was Here” is currently scheduled to be published on May 3, 2016.
Thanks for reading.
I was given an advanced reader copy of Britt-Marie Was Here from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.