Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Britt-Marie Was Here, in classic Fredrik Backman fashion, is a novel ultimately about community and coming into oneself. Backman has always written incredibly tender and empathetic stories from the perspective of older characters. This book is no different.
Britt-Marie has always relied on her husband Kent to provide for her. He makes the money, he has the friends, he makes the jokes, he essentially thinks for her. Which is fine for Britt-Marie because she’s always been a housewife and taking care of Kent is what she knows best. Then Kent has an affair.
We start the book with Britt-Marie — recently divorced — starting her life anew at age 63 in a derelict town called Borg. When we first meet Britt-Marie she is stubborn, rigid in her beliefs, has OCD tendencies, and is described as socially awkward.
We follow Britt-Marie as she takes up a new job as a cleaner, reluctantly befriends the town residents, takes the local kids’ football team under her wing, and truly comes into herself. Backman’s writing style is simple yet poignant and he writes Britt-Marie with such care and empathy, it’s a pleasure to follow her on her journey.
This is a story about a lonely woman who’s lost everything she’s ever known but finds a way to leave her mark on the small town of Borg. With a vibrant cast of characters, humour, and heartbreak, Backman writes a sweet story full of heart that can be enjoyed by any age.