Rambling about books

Book review: Britt-Marie Was Here, by Fredrik Backman

Book cover from Goodreads

At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?


Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She begins her day at 6 a.m., 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. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination,bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she is more than a little unprepared. Employed as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center, the fastidious Britt-Marie has to cope with muddy floors, unruly children, and a (literal) rat for a roommate. She finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts—and a handsome local policeman whose romantic attentions to Britt-Marie are as unmistakable as they are unwanted. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of big-hearted misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs? Taken from Goodreads

The Good

It was nice to Britt-Marie humanise in the book, she was definitely despicable and annoying in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. The interaction and the friends that she’s making in the book was written nicely, and it doesn’t feel like it was forced. And, I am glad to see that Britt-Marie was written in the way that she evolves into her own skin, something she was not able to do in so many years. I felt happy knowing  that Britt-Marie finally got the justice she deseves.

The Bad

Why? Why must you write everything so confusingly? I don’t know if it was something that got lost in the translation or that Backman just enjoy wasting words that really has no need in the story. So many unimportant details. Why? I was really having a hard time enjoying this book.

The Ugly

Why do you refuse to name SOMEBODY?? Do you know how bloody confusing it is to be reading something only to go back a couple of paragraphs because there’s a character named SOMEBODY, and when you read it, you thought it wasn’t referring to this character named SOMEBODY? Honestly, I don’t know what Backman was trying to accomplish with this particular thing, but it was definitely infuriating to say the least.


Not a full blown disappointment, but I legit was disappointed with this book.  First of all, it started way too slow and boring and annoying and complicated. I get that this is Backman’s style of writing (or maybe something got lost in translation?), but damn at this point I was just so over and done with it. It’s overused. It didn’t help that Britt-Marie as a character was just so hard to love; look, don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry for her but it doesn’t mean I can just overcome how annoying she is, right?

Overall I don’t think that this is bad book, but I wouldn’t say it’s a good book either. It was a complete let down for me, because having read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and A Man Called Ove, I really expect the annoying aspect from the first half of the book will turned into something bittersweet or heartwarming by the end of the book. Sadly I didn’t get the message on this book.  I felt like there were a lot of lost opportunities when it comes to the characters apart from Britt-Marie. Most of the characters, apart from Britt-Marie seems like it was written hastily, like it wants to get it over and done with, which is such a shame because there were definitely interesting characters. And the small town cliches were just too much for me. Sorry, it’s a hard pass for me.

Oh, and don’t get me started, why the hell Backman refuse to name “somebody”? It was just bloody annoying and confusing! I’m still reeling from this.

Read it if you want to, but I wouldn’t say it was worth it, especially if you had read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell you She’s Sorry, because if you like the latter, stop at that.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️☆☆☆

Title: Britt-Marie Was Here

Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Humour

Goodreads Link

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