Medicine, much like hockey, is a team sport, where it takes the effort of many to realize success. The sacrifices required and pressures of being a hockey coach or player are similar to those that providers face. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Recently, our medical education fellows chose Beartown, for our quarterly book club pick. This book, written by Fredrik Backman, is a fictional story about a small rural town nestled in the forest of Sweden, called Beartown. With its secluded location and decline of industry and jobs over the past decades, Beartown turns to hockey as its saving grace and ticket to raising its national profile.
The entire town’s hopes are pinned on the junior hockey team, who is competing in the national semi-finals. However, a scandal involving the star hockey player and a young girl will rock the town right before the semi-final game. The aftermath of this scandal leads to a team and town in turmoil.
Furthermore, some of the themes addressed in the book, including gender bias, sexual assault, and homophobia, are important for medical providers to be mindful of when working with both patients and colleagues.
Although Beartown is a story about hockey in a small town, it is so much more. It is an emotional, thought- provoking tale that addresses themes of family, community, friendship, loyalty, morality, and fighting for what you believe is right, even if it means risking everything. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Here are a few insightful quotations from the book to leave you wanting more:
“For the perpetrator, rape lasts just a matter of minutes. For the victim, it never stops.”
“Loneliness is an invisible ailment.”
“If you are honest, people may deceive you. Be honest anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfishness. Be kind anyway.
All the good you do today will be forgotten by others tomorrow. Do good anyway.
What you create, others can destroy. Create anyway.”