Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

imageBritt-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.


Having recently read A Man Called Ove, I was excited to see this book on Netgalley.  I have to admit it took me longer to warm up to Britt-Marie than I did to Ove.  Britt-Marie is a slave to her lists, her rigid timetable, manners and she is OCD when it comes to cleaning.  She is the type of woman who goes unnoticed, she is social inept and doesn’t have a sense of humour.  She wants to be seen but is so afraid of what others may think as she struggles to find her place in life.  When she stumbles into Borg, trying to find a new life and to live outside her comfort zone she doesn’t know what she is getting into.

This story also revolves around soccer, a game she can’t stand.  When the local neighbourhood kids take it upon themselves to appoint her as their new coach she is at a loss at what to do besides laundering their jerseys.  She slowly integrates herself to the town and it’s people, she finds that while things don’t always go according to plan sometimes things just work out for the best.

I loved seeing Britt-Marie slowly emerge like a butterfly from its cocoon. Her transformation was painfully slow but no less wonderful to read.  She is like many women who live for taking care of the home and finds it impossible to figure out who she is outside of that environment.  Stuck in a rut and with no self esteem or worth without her husband by her side she struggles to find herself after only taking care of others for so long.

The kids in this story are amazingly written.  You get a glimpse into their lives and how much they impact on Britt-Marie, how they bring her out of her shell.  She becomes a better person because of them.

This was a wonderful book!  If you read A Man Called Ove you will love this book as well.  Don’t let this one pass you by.

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5/5 Stars


Pre-Order: Amazon

Pre-Order: Amazon UK



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